FCC Votes to Consider Paid Priority on the Internet

Sean D Knight

“Fast Lanes” proposal open for discussion

The Federal Communications Commission has voted in favor to release the “fast lanes” proposal, and open it up for public comment, that would allow ISP providers, such as Comcast, to charge web sites, for example Netflix, an additional fee to prioritize traffic. The plan was approved Thursday in a three-to-two vote to open up debate on the proposed changes to the net neutrality rules.

Prior to the vote, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said, “I strongly support an open, fast, and robust internet. This agency supports an open internet. There is one Internet. Not a fast internet, not a slow internet; one internet.”

While Wheeler talked about an open internet, it appears he seems determined to go through with the proposal that many believe is a threat to the internet's openness as he continued, “Nothing in this proposal authorizes paid prioritization despite what has been incorrectly stated today. The potential for there to be some kind of a fast lane available to only a few has many people concerned. Personally, I don't like the idea that the Internet could be divided into haves and have-nots and I will work to see that that does not happen. In this item we have specifically asked whether and how to prevent the kind of paid prioritization that could result in fast lanes."

Opposition to the “fast lanes” proposal has been loud and numerous since it was revealed back in April with thousands of emails being sent, petitions started, and concerned citizens camping outside the building trying to get their message across. Web host NeoCities even went so far as to throttle the FCC’s internet connection to its website down to dial-up speeds.

The plan is not a final ruling and will be open for the public to leave their comments up until September 10 so that the FCC can hear the arguments for and against it.

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