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Small business could be impacted negatively by proposed FCC regulations

Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), when he was a lobbyist
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Most people agree that power, money, and clout are good ways to control people, but what if someone was controlling the information you receive?
No, this isn’t North Korea. It happens in the U.S. Websites are blocked regularly.
What is now known as Net Neutrality is the idea that it should take the same amount of time to get to every web site that a person might search and all informational websites should be free and available for everyone to access.
Of course, internet speed can regulate how fast your internet works in general, and your equipment or set up can regulate how fast signals are sent to your computer.
However, internet providers are able to control the download speeds of websites as well.
If you attempt to visit a new website but it doesn’t load as quickly, will you click away? This is the opposite of Net Neutrality.
If the internet provider that customers use could block their website’s competitors, users would have a hard time researching the fastest internet speeds of other providers.
The internet regulation possibilities are endless. Thus, Net Neutrality has been in the news again recently.
This time Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has revealed a proposal to let big corporations pay for the ability for internet users to access their websites.
“Our goal is to put into place real protections for consumers, innovators and entrepreneurs that until now have been only a matter of debate and litigation,” Wheeler said in an April 30th speech. “I believe this process will put us on track to quickly get to legally enforceable Open Internet rules.”
Generally, a company pays for using a domain space, or they start their own domain. If the internet providers could be paid to bring big websites to homes, then Wheeler says the content providers on the web will have to act more “commercially responsible”. In other words, fewer lies and illegal activity would be available online.
Those who oppose the plan say that it would be more difficult for a new business to post a website under these proposed new regulations.
Wheeler insists that his new proposal to regulate the internet is exactly the opposite.
“Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all,” said Wheeler. “I do not intend to allow innovation to be strangled by the manipulation of the most important network of our time, the Internet.”
Wheeler says that new FCC rules will not help big companies get ahead of new upstarts.
“Let me be clear,” said Wheeler. “If someone acts to divide the Internet between “haves” and “have-nots,” we will use every power at our disposal to stop it.”
“Prioritizing some traffic by forcing the rest of the traffic into a congested lane won’t be permitted under any proposed Open Internet rule,” said Wheeler. “We will not allow some companies to force Internet users into a slow lane so that others with special privileges can have superior service.”
Then, Wheeler did go on to say that websites that were unlawful or went against the U.S. in some way could be blocked or slowed down.
“Blocking access to lawful content and services would be inconsistent with the transaction that made them your subscribers,” said Wheeler.
In other words, under future Open Internet rules, an online retailer may be blocked if they do not charge their customers sales tax in states that have that.
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is concerned that the proposed new Open Internet Regulations might complicate more than they fix calling them "a solution in search of a problem.”
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly is also concerned about the more hands on approach the FCC is taking to trying to regulate the internet.
“For years, edge providers — Pandora, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, to name just a few — have flourished from the government’s hands-off approach to the Internet,” said O’Rielly. “Both Republicans and Democrats championed a structure that allowed the “application layer” of Internet architecture to be free from government intervention, apart from occasional Federal Trade Commission activity. That is now subject to change.
O’Rielly referenced Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which states, “The Commission and each State commission with regulatory jurisdiction over telecommunications services shall encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans (including, in particular, elementary and secondary schools and classrooms) by utilizing, in a manner consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, price cap regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment.”
In other words, this act has already put in place rules stating that all Americans should be able to access all legal websites.
A vote on May 15, will decide the future of internet regulation.
Wheeler has also proposed that local municipalities could own broadband internet to help with the lack of competition between internet providers.

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