WSJ: FCC Plans to Issue New 'Net Neutrality' Rules
February 19, 2014 at 8:45 AM (PT)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports the FCC will enact new rules to prevent Internet service providers from charging some companies a toll to reach consumers at the highest speeds.
"The guidelines are expected to ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to any websites," notes THE JOURNAL. "Supporters say the concept, known as 'net neutrality,' is crucial to keeping the Internet open and allowing smaller companies to compete with the biggest content providers. But the courts have ruled against the FCC's last two attempts to enforce net neutrality on companies like COMCAST CORP. and VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC. that provide Internet connections to households and businesses."
The report says the FCC "would likely complete the rules in the late SPRING or early SUMMER. The announcement means the FCC has thus far resisted calls from Democrats and public interest groups to reclassify broadband Internet as a public utility, which would subject the industry to much greater regulation. Republicans and broadband providers have argued such a move would severely curtail innovation and investment in the broadband market. A senior FCC official said Chairman TOM WHEELER plans to leave the option for reclassification open at present. The official also said the commission would consider ways to enhance competition in the broadband market by encouraging towns and cities to build their own broadband networks."
Last week (NET NEWS 2/11), citing ABRAHAM LINCOLN's quote, “As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew,” FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER told an audience at the UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW SCHOOL's SILICON FLATIRONS CENTER FOR LAW, TECHNOLOGY AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP that changes in technology compel the Commission to review and update the Communications Act and that the Commission has the authority to enforce net neutrality.