FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler Breaks The Internet With ‘Net Neutrality’
Head of Federal Communication Commission or FCC Tom Wheeler proposed that Internet access should be like a public utility, the way telephone lines are being used. The proposal was aimed at preserving and protecting the open Internet as a channel for innovation and free expression, the FCC fact sheet stated.
With Wheeler’s proposal, Internet users will be assured that accessing the legal content and applications available online would not be interfered by Internet service providers. The proposal is aimed at removing Internet providers as main gatekeepers of the service, i.e. speedy playing, download etc of content and products depending on the monthly fee that users are paying.
“Net Neutrality” entails that Internet providers shall not block legal content, applications, services or non-harmful devices. With the goal of neutrality, service providers shall not also impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices. Lastly, with neutrality, internet providers shall not engaged in paid prioritization where they favor some lawful traffic over equally lawful traffic in exchange for consideration or what the industry termed as “fast lanes” or whether it is profitable with their affiliates. All these were detailed in a fact sheet released by FCC on Feb 4.
“The internet must be fast, fair and open. That is the message I’ve heard from consumers and innovators across this nation. That is the principle that has enabled the internet to become an unprecedented platform for innovation and human expression,” Wheeler wrote in an op-ed for Wired.
The Congress will be voting on Wheeler’s proposal in an open meeting on Feb 26.
One case that demonstrates the advantage of the Net Neutrality is the 2014 controversy where Netflix accused Comcast and Verizon of deliberately slowing its traffic, CNET noted. Netflix alleged that Comcast and Verizon had intentionally slowed down traffic to compel them of paying access for broadband customers. If FCC’s proposal was already in place in 2014, Netflix would have used it “when a handful of ISPs opted to hold our members hostage until we paid up,” Netflix spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo said in a statement obtained by CNET.