FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler considering revising net neutrality rules

Increasing public pressure is making Wheeler reconsider the proposed rules, but many feel the revision will still not quell public and industry outrage.
By Ananth Baliga  |  May 12, 2014 at 12:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is reportedly reconsidering his proposed net neutrality rules in the wake of increasing public and industry criticism.

Wheeler replied to a letter from large tech companies, telling them he will not allow Internet providers to push companies into 'slow lanes' while companies who can pay get better and faster services. The Wall Street Journal reports that apart from assuaging the tech companies' concerns, Wheeler will also ask for more public comment on revised rules.

The revised rules would ban companies from blocking or slowing traffic for websites but still allows Internet providers to strike deals with companies for faster delivery of their content.

The FCC will also include language that will allow the agency to scrutinize deals to make sure broadband providers don't discriminate against nonpaying companies, according to an agent official.

The draft would also ask for public comment on whether such "paid prioritization" deals should be banned and whether the Internet should be considered a public utility, as opposed to an information service, which makes it tough to impose regulations on the sector.

"The draft is explicit that the goal is to find the best approach to ensure the Internet remains open and prevent any practices that threaten it," said an FCC official.

A reclassification of the Internet might help the FCC maintain a free and fair Internet, as suggested by a federal appeals court in January, which said the agency had no jurisdiction in the matter.

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