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There has been very harsh criticism regarding the FCC proposal for net neutrality. The protests have been centered on the section that allows broadband providers to discriminate against different traffic types. FCC’s Chairman, Tom Wheeler, is now saying that these providers will not be allowed to create Internet slow lanes.
Internet Slow Lanes Banned
The FCC was slated to announce the new net neutrality rules this Thursday. But in the face of harsh protests, the organization has decided to revise the proposal. By Monday next week, we may have the new version. According to Wheeler, this new version will clearly state that broadband providers will be banned from creating Internet slow lanes. They have been doing this as part of their traffic discrimination practices. Streaming services and peers who refuse to pay more for carrying the traffic were forced into Internet slow lanes. These Internet slow lanes have few ports and suffer from bottlenecked Internet traffic.
Internet service providers will still be allowed to make new deals with other providers and services with heavy traffic. How the FCC can prevent them from forcing uncooperative companies into Internet slow lanes is not yet evident. Internet service providers have been making and proposing these deals for some time. The companies who have not agreed to the requested fees have been punished by having their traffic pushed to Internet slow lanes. These Internet slow lanes are also used as a shakedown measure to force services to pay. The worry has always been that this will continue.
Tech Companies Oppose FCC Proposal
It would be difficult in the first place to prove that a certain broadband provider is creating Internet slow lanes. And the FCC proposal allows deals that guarantee faster connections. By default, this means that Internet slow lanes will exist. Network operators and streaming services are complaining that these broadband providers are not opening enough ports for their traffic to pass through. This is not technically creating an Internet slow lane, but the result is the same. This is what Netflix, Mozilla, Google, and many other tech companies and investors have been saying.
An FCC representative gave assurances that all deals would be closely reviewed. This is to make sure that companies who don’t pay what Internet service providers want don’t get discriminated against. But the fact remains that the creation of Internet slow lanes would be intrinsic to any kind of prioritization. The representative’s response to this is that the FCC would open the table to discussion. It is therefore still possible that the FCC might withhold permissions for paid traffic prioritization. The FCC is also considering putting a ban on discriminatory deals. This means that the big broadband providers will not be able to make deals with companies that have different, special terms.
Many tech companies and other organizations have also raised the issue of broadband Internet as a public utility. If it is ruled that the Internet is a public utility, it will come under the stricter rules that are applied to telecommunications companies. Chairman Wheeler’s focus is to get the rules finalized as quickly as possible. But he must consider these important concerns that he is faced with. There are also alternative proposals that have been put forward. These are to be given due attention by the FCC, according to their representative.