Will FCC's New Rules Mess Up the Internet as We Know It? Stay Tuned

Will FCC's New Rules Mess Up the Internet as We Know It? Stay TunedConsumers, your Internet will either get faster or slower in the future. But speed will likely depend on a host of factors, including new deals struck between your service provider and content producers.
The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new rules Thursday that would essentially allow Internet providers to create a sort of “fast lane” for certain websites and services.
The proposal follows a January court decision that struck down the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules.
Net neutrality prohibits Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast from blocking, limiting or “unreasonably discriminating” against online content. Net neutrality kept the playing field even for everyone, so ISPs couldn’t work out profitable deals with say, Amazon or Netflix, that would stream its content faster than that of competing content providers.
Those regulations were challenged in 2011 by Verizon, which claimed the rules overstepped the commission’s legal authority, and the FCC has since been working to craft new rules that will pass legal muster.
The FCC now has to create rules that would attempt to keep that playing field as even as possible, but the agency must allow ISP deals with content producers.
Consumer Advocates Decry End to Neutrality
The news of the pending proposal drew expected dread and condemnations from net neutrality activists and consumer advocates. They say the FCC plan will give large companies that can afford to pay for priority access a big and permanent advantage over smaller competitors.
The FCC proposal to be announced Thursday includes requirements that ISPs to offer “a baseline level of service” to their subscribers. But ISPs will be allowed to “enter into individual negotiations with content providers.”
That opens up opportunities for Amazon, eBay, Netflix and other content giants to pay ISPs to ensure that their sites load for Web users faster than those of competitors.
Internet providers must act in a “commercially reasonable manner,” with agreements between ISPs and content providers subject to review by regulators on a case-by-case basis, the FCC is planning to announce according to various media reports.
“Exactly what the baseline level of service would be, the construction of a ‘commercially reasonable’ standard, and the manner in which disputes would be resolved, are all among the topics on which the FCC will be seeking comment,” am FCC spokesman said Wednesday.

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