Net Neutrality Proponents Spurning FCC Proposal for Wrong Reasons
NEWS ANALYSIS: The net neutrality debate has been raging for over a decade, and it's still no closer to resolution. Even now, a central question is whether paying more for faster service somehow violates net neutrality.Before the Federal Communications Commission even had a chance to look at the revised Open Internet rules being proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the agency was already being slammed by advocacy groups on what they thought he might propose. In fact Common Cause was calling the proposal "a major step backward." Those rules would allow ISPs to negotiate fees for major bandwidth users such as Netflix and YouTube to assure they have access to Web capacity. But is this really the case? Common Cause has trotted out a former FCC commissioner, Michael Copps, now an advisor to the organization, who said in a statement released to the media, "If the commission subverts the Open Internet by creating a fast lane for the 1 percent and slow lanes for the 99 percent, it would be an insult to both citizens and to the promise of the Net." The organization then suggests that Wheeler's proposals, which would allow major users to pay for their increased needs, somehow threaten democracy itself.
As you might expect, FCC Chairman Wheeler disagrees, calling such suggestions, "flat out wrong." What Wheeler lays out in a blog entry is that he's proposing some changes in the commission's rules that would allow payments for bandwidth as long as they're "commercially reasonable."