Thursday morning, the Federal Communications Commission voted in favor of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed net neutrality reforms. The 3-2 vote would allow for internet service providers to charge websites to deliver streaming services at higher speeds.
In defense of the plan, the FCC Chairman assured that these paid prioritization agreements would only be instituted in a “commercially reasonable manner,” preventing ISPs from, say, delivering content to consumers at speeds slower than those the Providers guarantee in their contracts. Wheeler told theNew York Times recently, “The focus of this proposal is on maintaining a broadly available, fast and robust Internet. … Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all.”
But the decision on these paid prioritization arrangements is not final. The public now has until September 10th to respond to the vote, with two phases of public commenting that may have an impact on the final set of rules. Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge reports that the first period will run until July 27th, and the second phase will run for 57 days beyond that. The second phase, Kastrenakes writes, is meant to allow the public to reply to comments that the FCC received during the first phase.
The word is still out on what constitutes a “commercially reasonable” delivery of streaming web content. But there is time for the public to shape the answer to that question, and it’s very easy to participate. In anticipation of high volumes of feedback the FCC has set up an email address, email@example.com, to accept relevant comments from the public on the new rules. There is also the FCC’s tried and true electronic comment filing system (use proceeding number 14-28). Longer entries can be included as attachments through this larger form, reports Kastrenakes. Comments submitted through any means will be public, but may have significant impact since the FCC is specifically asking whether internet fast lanes should be banned altogether.
Here’s a preliminary wrap-up of the additional coverage surrounding the FCC’s decision thus far:
Further details of the FCC’s decision, as reported by Lily Hay Newman of Slate: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/05/15/the_fcc_voted_3_2_that_websites_should_pay_isps_for_fast_reliable_service.html.
Learn how the decision could slow down your browsing here on Mid-marketpulse.
To experience the Internet slow lane first hand, visit the dedicated page on Feld.com.