Reports: FCC Chairman Revising Net Neutrality Rules

May 12, 2014

Where the Federal Communications Commission ends up on net neutrality seems to be up in the air: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Washington Post are reporting that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is revising a proposal that would allow Internet providers to sell fast lanes to content companies seeking faster delivery to its customers.

As we reported, Wheeler walked into a storm of controversy when news outlets reported he would back a new approach that included allowing Internet providers to prioritize traffic. According to reports today, Wheeler seems to be tweaking his position by adding some exceptions.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Journal reports Wheeler will circulate new language as early as this week. The paper reports:

“The [original] plan has drawn criticism from a wide range of players in the technology world, including Google Inc., Netflix Inc. and dozens of prominent tech investors, who say that such deals will inherently segregate the Internet into fast and slow lanes.”

“In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don’t unfairly put nonpaying companies’ content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.”

USA Today reports the new proposal would also “ban certain types of fast-lanes, including prioritization given by ISPs to their subsidiaries that make and stream content.”

The FCC was forced to revise its stance on net neutrality after a court threw out the FCC’s old rules governing a so-called “Open Internet.”

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