FCC new plan for Net Neutrality – pros, cons and will it increase costs

The Washington Times reports on the FCC plan for Net Neutrality (to be voted on at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting)…

The Federal Communications Commission took aim at a signature Obama-era regulation Tuesday, unveiling a plan that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers see and use.

Under the agency’s proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, would be able to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content.

The news isn’t unexpected. Many had predicted that the plan would be unveiled just in time for the holiday. Over the summer many Net Neutrality advocates staged an Internet slow-down to demonstrate the potential of repealing Net Neutrality.

Politico outlines some of the changes…

President Donald Trump-appointed Pai’s plan would jettison rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing web traffic or creating so-called paid internet fast lanes, the people familiar with the changes said.

Pai also will follow through on his plans to scrap the legal foundation that the FCC’s old Democratic majority adopted in 2015 to tighten federal oversight of internet service providers, a move he contends has deterred the industry from investing in broadband networks. Internet providers have feared that legal foundation, if left in place, could set the stage for possible government price regulation of internet service.

The chairman’s approach, to be voted on at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting, would also get rid of the so-called general conduct standard, which gives the FCC authority to police behavior by internet service providers it deems unreasonable.

The plan includes transparency rules that would require internet service providers to inform their customers about their practices on issues such as blocking and throttling. Major internet providers, including Comcast, have publicly said they will not block or throttle web traffic.

The FCC will look to another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, to police whether internet service providers are acting in an anti-competitive manner.

What could this mean to consumers?

A main fear is the potential rise in costs for consumers. I can’t say what will happen but this issue seems to come up often – so I thought it might be helpful to set out a benchmark to compare if things change. In April the Minnesota Broadband Coalition looked at the average cost of broadband access.  Here’s what was tracked:

What are folks saying? Politico outlines opinions concisely…

Supporters of the existing rules, including tech giants like Netflix and left-leaning digital activists, say they are necessary to ensuring the internet remains a level playing field. But critics, including Pai, have said they are too burdensome and deter investment in broadband networks.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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