FCC Responds to Critics of Net Neutrality Proposal

Paul Lilly

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says reports of end of net neutrality are "flat out wrong"

There's a lot of hubbub on the Internet over a controversial set of proposed rules by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which if passed would allow broadband providers to charge companies for faster delivery of their content. On the surface, this seems to fly in face of the concept of net neutrality, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler insists that reports of the agency pulling an about-face on the subject are "flat out wrong."

"There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong," Wheeler said . "Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court's ruling in January. There is no 'turnaround in policy.' The same rules will apply to all Internet content."

In a separate statement from Wheeler, who used to be a cable industry lobbyist, the FCC voiced concern over a "great deal of misinformation" over the topic of net neutrality and what the proposed rules will mean.

"To be very direct, the proposal would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted," the FCC said.

All of these comments and statements appear to be contradictory to the wording of the proposed rules, as they would allow companies like Comcast to charge Netflix and other streaming service providers a fee for a faster Internet connection into homes. The FCC defends this notion by saying it will establish a baseline level of service to subscribers and establish a high bar for what is considered "commercially reasonable," the standard by which ISPs would have to act when making delivery deals with companies.

Image Credit: Flickr (pfly)

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