Tuesday, February 03, 2015

FCC to propose net-neutrality rules on Thursday; could increase broadband in rural areas

The Federal Communications Commission will release net-neutrality rules on Thursday proposing that the agency regulate high-speed Internet as a public utility, a move that could benefit rural areas, Gautham Nagesh reports for The Wall Street Journal. FCC last week took steps toward bringing faster high-speed Internet service to rural areas by increasing the definition of broadband speeds.

Republicans "have pitched an idea that would enforce basic open Internet rules but could strip the FCC of its ability to help local municipalities build their own broadband," Anne Flaherty reports for The Associated Press. "It's a nonstarter for Obama and congressional Democrats who say poor and rural areas have been left behind in the deployment of high-speed Internet."

Under the proposed rules, instead of "regulating broadband firms lightly, as has been its practice so far, the FCC would treat them like telecommunications companies and subject them to more intrusive regulation, especially in areas relating to how they manage traffic on their networks," Nagesh writes. "A central element would be a ban on broadband providers blocking, slowing down or speeding up specific websites in exchange for payment, these people say. Supporters of the FCC’s position say allowing some websites to pay for faster access to consumers would put startups and smaller companies at a disadvantage."

"The proposal would also give the FCC the authority to regulate deals on the back-end portion of the Internet, where broadband providers such as Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. pick up traffic from big content companies such as Netflix Inc. and network middlemen like Level 3 Communications Inc., Nagesh writes. "Deals between companies like Netflix and Internet providers aim to ensure connections are maintained without any disruption and are designed to prevent any one firm from swamping the network with traffic." (Read more)

No comments: