The FCC is Once Again Set to Vote on New Net Neutrality Rules
Back in November, the White House officially posted President Obama's statement on the topic on Net Neutrality. President Obama also stated in a video message from the White House that "An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known." Today it's being reported that the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler Mr. Wheeler is expected to circulate his proposal on Thursday, with a vote scheduled for the FCC's open meeting on Feb. 26. A majority of the FCC's five commissioners must approve the rules for them to take effect.
Weeks ago Wheeler stated that "We're going to propose rules that say no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization, and that there is a yardstick against which behavior should be measured, and that yardstick was "just and reasonable." These very points were outlined in the President's formal statement.
The Tech Sector Remains Split Over Net Neutrality
Companies like Google, Microsoft and Netflix are in favor of Net Neutrality, with Apple sitting silently on the sidelines.
Some, like Business Insider, believe that Apple is against Net Neutrality based on a report by Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn suggesting that Apple has been quietly building its own private internet fast lane.
On the flipside, BlackBerry has been very vocal about Net Neutrality and sees some flaws to the whole debate. Below is part of BlackBerry's formal statement:
"Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple's iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users.
This dynamic has created a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.
Therefore, neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet."
And lastly, from the perspective of the wireless carriers, it's a straight forward investment issue. Constantly building out faster internet services for consumers has solid costs associated with that and carriers want a return on their investment. So charging more for video conferencing and high-end live concerts, for instance, should carry an added fee structure. Fairness is somewhere in the middle and the debate rages on.
The FCC is ready to Move on the Matter
According to a new Wall Street Journal report, "Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler intends to seek a significant expansion of his agency's authority to regulate mobile and fixed broadband providers, a move that would fully embrace the principle known as 'net neutrality.'
According to multiple people familiar with the agency's plan, Mr. Wheeler intends to change the way both mobile and fixed broadband firms are regulated. Rather than being lightly regulated information services, they would become like telecommunications companies, which would subject them to greater regulation on everything from pricing to how they deploy their networks.
The Wall Street Journal reminds us that a federal court struck down the FCC's most-recent set of net neutrality rules in January 2014, sending the issue back to the agency for the third time. Wireless and broadband industry officials have indicated that they plan to sue again if the FCC moves ahead and saddles them with outdated regulations that depress investment in upgrading networks.
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Net Neutrality - explained! – In Five Videos