The FCC will once again try to pass net neutrality rules by defining a traffic baseline but also allow content providers to enter moderated negotiations with ISPs for dedicated traffic lines. Digital rights groups state this is non-neutral.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission might take some fire for their new proposal. Earlier this Wednesday, new net neutrality rules were leaked in the news. The proposal, drafted by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, gives content providers the special treatment via dedicated traffic management, if they buy it from internet service providers. Some say this could finally spell the end for net neutrality. However, the new set of rules will also prevent broadband providers from slowing down or blocking traffic to certain websites.
Under the new rules, Broadband providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, must offer baseline costs to their customers. ISPs also have the option to enter negotiations with content providers, but within reasonable measures outlined by the FCC. They promise to monitor how negotiations will take place, but anti-competitiveness is still the primary problem with these rules.
Nothing is final yet. The FCC will meet and decide whether the general public will have a say in the new rules. The FCC plans to find a reasonable baseline level of service, creating a standard for all content negotiations.
Some groups still believe that this is tampering with net neutrality. Digital rights groups say that this will allow broadband providers to pick favorites, explaining that this is discrimination and not net neutrality. Certain content providers could pay to have priorities over others.
From a business standpoint, net neutrality activists believe that this could also make it hard for small, independent startups, overshadowed by content juggernauts paying their way to continued success. Smaller businesses wouldn’t run at decent speeds because they wouldn’t be able to afford it. But, the FCC promises that the rules won’t play favorites with competing businesses, even though content providers can still pay to be non-neutral.
The U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the FCC’s last set of rules in January because broadband services couldn’t be classified the same as telephone services. However, using the Telecommunication Act, the FCC found authority to pass net neutrality rules.
These new rules are in the wake of the Netflix-Comcast deal, where Netflix paid Comcast for traffic priorities. The deal resolves slow video streaming speeds for Netflix, who is also a strong supporter of net neutrality.