FCC Issues Net Neutrality Proposals

Net neutrality, the principle that the internet should be open to all on equal terms, is under threat in the USA as the FCC Commissioners discuss new proposed rules following its defeat in Verizon v FCC.

The White House remains firm in its support of net neutrality. “Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide.”

That was the President’s position in January. The following month, the decision in Verizon v FCC stated that the FCC did not have the power to insist on neutrality.

The carriers want to be able to charge extra for super-services and for certain types of traffic making the Internet a tiered service where those who pay more get better speeds.

In Europe, the European Parliament voted earlier this month to stop carriers charging more for certain types of traffic. To take effect, the vote has to be endorsed by the Council of a Ministers.

Neelie Kroes, who seems to decide these matters, remains wedded to the principle that “Internet users can always choose full Internet access – that is, access to a robust, best-efforts Internet with all the applications you wish.”

But Kroes is prepared to accept the provision of tiered services where it is clearly stated exactly what the user is getting and not getting.

The carriers make their usual argument that they need to be able to charge more to maintain their investment levels in the Internet.

In the USA, these investments are scandalously low judging by the standard of the mobile services provided.

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