FCC set to propose strong net neutrality rules this week

A new report says that the Federal Communications Commission could propose a set of regulations Thursday that would support net neutrality for both fixed and mobile broadband service providers. The proposal is likely to be similar to the ones that President Barack Obama announced in November 2014.

The Wall Street Journal reports that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will state that broadband providers should be regulated like telephone and cable companies under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, rather than information services. This change would allow the FCC more control over those broadband companies.

As part of these new regulations, Wheeler will also reportedly do away with so-called "fast lanes" for access to sites and services. That means ISPs would not be able to slow down speeds to certain websites and services like Netflix unless those companies pay those broadband providers extra for fast access.

A US federal court shot down the FCC's latest attempt to regulate broadband companies in January 2014 and we expect that those same companies will file a lawsuit against the commission if it makes the same move this week. It's likely that the debate on net neutrality will continue for years to come.

Source: Wall Street Journal

93 Comments
  • Here's hoping.
  • Yes!  Finally the governnt is here to fix the internet with central planning run by politicians.   What could possibly go wrong?
  • Exactly. Well, it was cool while it lasted.
  • Net neutrality has always been a standard only the government can enforce. Private industry wants to do away with it. The government bolstering net neutrality is a good thing for customers full stop. The government deregulating internet was what allowed the big ISPs the power to decide what you could view and at what speed. This might not fit your narrative but government is often the good guy, and intelligent regulation often necessary.
  • Well said.
  • "The government deregulating internet was what allowed the big ISPs the power to decide what you could view and at what speed" Yea, the internet has really sucked lately, good thing the government is here to help.  There is no crisis in internet access for the US today.  Those with only one provider now?  Net neutrality will make becoming an ISP even more difficult, not less.  This intrusion will ensure fewer options. For exmaple, let's say I developed a new, innovative way to deliver the internet.  The bandwidth is slow, but it is really cheap.  However, if someone in your group downloads a Netflix movie, it kills speed for everyone.  Thanks to net neutrality, I can't treat Netflix differently than wikipedia, so my new innovation dies.  Regulation always eliminates options, making them illegal.  Innovation around those areas, die before they ever see the light of day.  Stagnation in the industry locks the major players in place, the technology in place, and bars entry for startups that cannot meet the standards imposed by regulation.  This is by design of the industry leaders, in partnership with politicians.  For example, creative new car designs by Elio, Aptera, etc.  Often must go to a 3 wheel design to avoid regulations, but then run into motorcyle regulations like helmets.  The result, Ford, Chevy and Crysler are locked in place with their cars that don't innovate and look like each other.  Trust me, the big players in these industry cry, but they know the regulations protect them and help to write them. Some regulations do help, like pollution.  They have proven to work, and they continue.  Most regulations don't help, but they continue too.  The list of ever growing regulations never ends, and both political parties love adding more.  The government is now jumping claiming they will fix the best innovation of our lifetimes, the open internet.       
  • Your post was full of non-analogous comparisons and made no sense to me...  A new ISP startup that can't support Netflix would fail in the market, and if there was a demand for it there are several legal ways to control bandwidth.  When I fly on Southwest and use their ISP my traffic is severely curtailed, but it's all part of their user agreement and completely legal.  And regardless, the net neutrality argument sits mostly on the backbone of the internet, on the transition of high bandwidth traffic's movement from tier 1 to tier 2 ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon.  The elimnation of net neutrality would create a false barrier of entry for high bandwidt content providers new and old designed to limit the need for investment in infrastructure while trying to move customers using Netflix into their own in house content providing websites. I am just confused why you would want to defend the pipe.  The pipe is doing fine.  The pipe is making crazy money right now, and would like to make more.  The pipe is not the open internet.  The people creating content and accessing that content are the internet.  Net neutrality is trying to make ensure free and open access from one end to the other regardless. Yes, crony capitalism is a sever problem in the U.S., but the lobbying arm of large ISPs are spending millions of dollars trying to defeat net neutrality.  That money is being spent defending their own self interests, not the interests of consumers or small time competitors.  They are part of the crony capitalist problem that allows their industry to avoid change.  You are arguing against the internet's best interests and your own and I don't understand.
  • Hope it goes through this time, cell services providers and ISPs have too much power.
    And i'm glad that the standard for Mbps was recently set from 4 to 25 Mbps
  • Agreed
  • Yeah - that 4mb story was bananas lol
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is only in the definition of the term broadband.  Nobody is going to get a big jump in speed.  Companies will just have to rename slower speeds to something else and NOT use the name broadband.
  • Generally the terminology used is "upto" an X speed in the Uk. Then they have some blurb that the speed you actually receive will depend on certain factors.
  • That's right. I'm with bt fibre - up to 70mb, getting 63. Not bad, with sky (non fibre - even though its cooper into the house, when are they going to sort out that fib) I was paying for 20 and getting 11. How hard can it be to deliver stable, reliable, fast and unrestricted or capped broadband?
  • Over a cable it can actually be quite difficult because of the length of cable required to get to your premises from the exchange... The longer the cable, the worse the slowdown is... Simple really.
  • At my place here in Oregon my brother and I are paying for 150mbps and we are getting 165mbps at the slowest. I think it is only because we have the top tier that is offered. I have never got the actual speed when on the lower tiers.
  • No fair!!!  Everyone should have the exactly same mbps, that just a simple human right.  Your access should be slowed down to the speed of the slowest person, it's the only way to attain network social justice.  It's just plain fair.  Hopefully, now that the FCC is running the internet for politicians, they will ensure no one's internet is faster than anyone else.
  • It would only be equal if controlled by the Dems.  Republicans obviously control this because the fast just keep getting faster, while the rest of us just maintain the bare minimum.
  • Their is no difference in Democrats and Republicans clearly they both work together to fuck over all of us but theiris hope and thats Rand Paul
  • Cablecos will hammer At&t Uverse in ads. All they have to do is say "You don't have broadband with Uverse" over and over. Hell my mother thought about dumping Uverse for Comcast because she felt her PC slowing down, while it was really her AV running at a certain time.
  • ...and they'll loose in court again. Can't wait! Government regulation of the internet should not be allowed.
  • No it should not be. As an IT major, this article posts the goods. Not the terrifying.
  • No. Without real competition, there needs to be regulation. My state de-regulated electricity citing competition. All that happened was additional collusion and our electro prices eising 110% in 3 years.
  • @jjmurphy California by chance?
  • This^. There's no competition, so there needs to be regulation. Comcast is the only high speed ISP I can get in my neighborhood and I live IN Boston. A new service called netblazr just popped up but it doesn't reach my area of the city yet. Aside from then theres verizon DSL (this is what I have because i refuse to use comcast and WOW it is soooo bad). That's just sad considering where I live.
  • That's just sad considering where I live.
    Actually, it's a symptom of where you live. It's no accident that most people who support net neutrality and complain of poor service live in big "blue" cities with extremely high costs and regulatory burdens.  Most of their internet problems can be pinned entirely on local government overreach and corruption. Boston, for instance.  I lived there when the last major fiber backbone to be built in the city was laid.  That was in 2001, by a company called Global Crossing, who had to pay about $24,000 per meter in cost.  Why so expensive?  Because of prevailing wage rates, union requirements, slow work, payments to various government officials' campaign funds, payola to "community leaders" to get approval, etc.  All mandated by local laws. Boston has long since maxed out that fiber, but no more has been built since.  Why? Global Crossing was pushed into bankruptcy, and no other companies are willing to take a similar economic risk to bring new fiber.  So your services will continue to suck, courtesy of your local government. It has had a knock-on effect in also slowing down deployment of fiber backhaul to cell sites... you get LTE signal, but you're stuck with T-1 lines from 1999 on the other end at the tower. San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, and LA all have similar problems.  So does Philadelphia. It's no mistake that wireless service sucks in San Francisco -- the Board of Stupidvi... ehrm SUPERVISORS mandated that antennas for cell base stations can only be a foot long and not three feet long as designed.  You'll never get a good signal in SF with any carrier ever, period.  (They also tried to force cell phone companies to paste an unscientific "RF radiation warning sticker" on cell phones.) New York City has terrible internet because local regulations make it so difficult and expensive for telcos to string new fiber.  That's why Time Warner Cable speeds suck and why FiOS is a patchwork throughout the entire city.  That's all local too. And finally, if you look at where Google Fiber is -- and is going -- along with other competition -- it's the south and mountain west, which don't have large and arbitrary bureaucracies that destroy innovation.  Google will NEVER bring fiber to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, SF, etc. because the regulations, corruption, etc. would kill them.
  • Well I guess we can bring politics into this if you want to. The cities that fiber are expanding into happen to be the blue cities in their states (Kansas city, Austin) so the government choices and the way people vote can't be the reason why. I'm hopeful this passes and fixes the industry. There have been no improvements over the past decade (compared with the period between 93-2003).
  • Considering that net neutrality itself is "politics," it's a bit odd to complain that politics are being brought into it. But both Austin and KC are undoubtedly not big old coastal high-regulation cities.  They have low taxes, they're development-friendly, and they have a dearth of regulations that prevent new development.  So of course they're getting services first. There have been no improvements over the past decade in your town because Boston and other big high-regulation and high bureaucracy cities made such improvements unprofitable.  Companies aren't going to rush in with new cash when "net neutrality" kicks in -- they'll actually be less likely to pour the needed high amount of investment into those difficult cities. All "net neutrality" says is that you can't prioritize traffic.  It doesn't say there's any requirement to dump cash into building new infrastructure.  And so long as Boston, New York, Philly, Chicago, SF, LA and other big urban centers make infrastructure development prohibitively expensive and an exercise in bureaucracy, that's going to be the end result. Residents of those cities will be getting a broadband experience that will resemble a wireline version of Sprint's 3G network in 2012 or thereabouts -- choked to death.  "Everyone is equal" on an overloaded network that cannot be economically expanded because of corruption and overregulation.
  • Well it's not like any of the companies in the area had been improving their networks so I can't see how this is going to make things worse.
  • It's going to make things worse in at least one significant way. Prior to the passage of such regulation, certain services always received priority on the network -- especially voice traffic. Post "network neutrality" (sic), you might find your calls to 911 on your congested infrastructure getting nothing but a fast busy signal... leaving you or a loved one in serious trouble because your neighbor is streaming a torrent of the entire first five seasons of "The Facts Of Life" and can't be throttled down to let your call through.
  • And, the proposals actually won't make it illegal to prioritize traffice.  It only makes a company have to go and get approval to prioritize (show that it needs it, it's not unfair, etc). So then we can all complain about how government and business collusion are forcing smaller companies out of business and scream for greater regulations to stop these evil monopolies. Regulation will always lead to more regulation and a closer relationship between businesses that can pay for lobbyists.
  • Most people who are for net neutrality live in "blue" cities? Where did you get that BS from?
  • i live in boston too, and the thing is these smaller providers only options are build their own infrastructre or else rent out a piece of somebody else's - so hypothetically company X riding coattails on 5% of comcast's bandwidth, which is what all these small no-contract cellphone companies do. One problem people don't understand is that the biggest companies are no way in hell not going to get their cake and eat it and the worst thing about this is going to be the aspect of federal compliance which we already saw jack up everyone's insurance premiums in the president's ACA. There will be new taxes which will get passed onto us just like when we saw the fed gov't tax an insurer $1 fee for one thing, the insurance company gets their dollar back and then some by charging their customer $3 to make up for that sime itemization. The big guys will have to spend $$$ to ramp up their infrastructre to meet compliance which guess who is really going to pay for. And just like the ACA closed or is closing down smaller insurers, practices, and hospitals this will do the same to those small independant companies - there is no way they are going to be able to afford meeting federal requirements
  • Regulation in itself won't fix anything, it has to contain the right provisions and I doubt Title II is the answer. POTS, under Title II since the 1930s had no competition or innovation until after the 1980s. Electric utilities have been regulated for a long long time yet we still have rolling blackouts and brownouts in many parts of the USA. Water shortages are common and not due to drought but over commitment of existing reservoirs. Is this what people want for the internet?
  • Name something the government manages well? No internet fast lanes means everything will be slow. Why build something the government ruins? ROI bye bye. All the equal access people don't understand anything
  • There are a lot of examples actually, but they are so basic to our lives that nobody notices them.  Infrastructure such as the interstates, bridges, and tunnels that you take for granted every day.  Safe food, drinking water, and other utilities.  Public land such as parks.  Air traffic control and the FAA manages the aviation industry which has an amazing safety record in the US despite the high risks of that industry.  Now, how about you name one major industry that private companies manage responsibly on their own. Banks?  Nope.  Countless economic collapses in our history prove that they will corrupt the system until it crashes. Oil?  Nope.  Long history of environmental damage, worker safety issues, and quality issues that have only been controlled through various regulations. Manufacturing?  Nope.  Same history as Oil, but add human rights violations. Technology?  Nope.  Patent violations (some patents are valid and must be enforced), anti-competitive business practices.  Price fixing, etc. Communications?  Nope.  Same history as the technology sector. It's not about right or wrong.  It's about balance.  Your argument of "government should not manage anything" is not balanced.  
  • +1520
  • Are you actually praising the roads I waste hours per day in due to inadequate capacity?
  • For every person who apparently wants more infrustructure spending like you, there are just as many who don't want it. You can't blame "not having enough roads" on state government when state government has voters expressing conflicting interests.
  • The roads in my state are supposed to be maintained and improved through the gas tax. However, that is not happening. The roads are poorly maintained and not meeting demand. I support 100% toll roads owned and operated for profit and repealing all gas taxes be they state, local, or federal. No government involvement whatsoever in roads.
  • You expect an .18 cent gas tax to manage thousands of miles of roadway? Explain the logic in that.
  • Your argument that government should "manage everything" seems a bit less balanced. Banking, for instance, is managed by the Federal Reserve -- which argued there was no housing bubble, and the banks that experienced failures were mostly ones who issued loans to people who could not afford to repay them -- as mandated by government. Oil companies do all that damage under government oversight, and of course the biggest oil spill in recent memory was done by BP -- a government-owned and government-operated company. Manufacturing?  I'd rather have any of Ford's products than one of the Russian Ladas made in a government plant. The tech issues you mention are all government problems -- patents (the absurd notion that one should have a monopoly on an idea), price fixing (which government handles in health care), etc. Communications?  If you think the government does a better job, you've obviously not visited a post office recently.
  • err, maybe you take those statistics for granted too considering how much land is getting whored out to Chinese investors or companies like Monsanto. Our drinking water is full of detrimental industrial waste chemicals that were lobbied into use to our benefit. Our food safety relies on ex-Monsanto and big pharma lawyers and executives and a majority of the bridges in this country are not only in piss-poor shape but the many that ought to have been used on public works redirected in many cases on other initiatives. I don't think you know how much the individual state is responsible for either
  • " Infrastructure such as the interstates, bridges, and tunnels that you take for granted every day."
    The last time I checked all that infrastructure was crumbling.  A significant percentage of the bridges in the US have been rated as unsafe or very nearly so.  This is the management you want for the internet as well? "Safe food, drinking water, and other utilities."
    In many areas these "utilities" have been privitized and yielded better results.  Why would you want the inferior product?  "Banks?  Nope. [and the rest] " The Banking system is extremely heavily regulated, and those regulations have led to the crashes that you claim support your cause.  The last major crisis was created by the gov forcing lending institutions to lower their standards for the loans.  Subprime was the result of gov regulation, the regulation did not prevent it, but a free market would have as those loans would have never been made.  In fact, I could point to gov regulations in every sector that you cite that have caused more problems than they solve.  "It's not about right or wrong. " You are right, the argument is Freedom vs Tyrrany, why don't YOU check the history of heavily regulated states and see how well those turned out.  It's a sad and bloody lesson that you seem not to have learned.
  • First of all, the government is not trying to regulate the internet... They're trying to regulate the companies that give you access to the internet. Second of all, as a taxpayer, I am entitled to have my government tell these d-bag billionaire private companies how to use the resources I pay for eg. mobile spectrum, etc. Regulate these bastards and watch how cheap internet access becomes then we'll see if you're complaining or not.
  • It wont be cheaper, it usually never is. All they will do is increase prices to cover costs of everyone getting a pass. Just how my other bill doubled cause of others
  • No doubt the corporations will find a way to f u they might just have to get more creative. You need to force a gov run competitor in the arena to keep pricing honest.
  • the government is not trying to regulate the internet... They're trying to regulate the companies that give you access to the internet
    Sorry, but this is sophistry.  As for "regulating and watching how cheap things become," can you refer me to a situation in American history where government regulation reduced the actual cost of a competitive commodity?  (Note: subsidies don't reduce costs, they simply redistribute them).
  • except that's not how it's going to end. You should know that one of the worst of the D-bag billionaires, nazi accomplice, and instigator George Soros - has had one of his front groups - with federal endounments mind you, pushing for increased internet censorship pushed into net neutrality via backroom meetings with the mostly-progressive liberal top brass at the FCC. Ironically his group calling for censorship is called "FreePress". And before someone comes in to defend what "great guy he is", he also admitted to having no regrets turning over fellow jews to the nazis while stealing their assets, recently admitted - after repeatedly denying to help organize and fund an illegal coup in Ukraine, funded mercenary protestors in Fergusson, Is funding the education of our future doctors to put profit for big insurance/gov't spending over lives, is using his own and US State Department funds in a propaganda campaign to turn North and eventually central American countries into another EU, etc, etc ,etc   
  • aaaannd Godwins law :D
  • Definitely not. I hope the FCC loses. We don't need net neutrality. We are fine as we are. Anyone who thinks otherwise wants to ruin the worlds internet.
  • I'd say for the US : about fu%&ing time.
  • The end of innovation in broadband is near.
  • But not really.
  • That last part of paragraph 3 is only worded different. It's still going to kill things. Those sneeky bastards.
  • Is it me or is the wording in this sentence a bit off: "That means ISPs would not be able to slow down speeds to certain websites and services like Netflix unless those companies pay those broadband providers extra for fast access." ?
  • Nope, companies such as Netflix needed to pay extra so users can access their sites faster because internet providers were throttling people
  • What I meant here is that the sentence could be paraphrased as: "If those companies pay those broadband providers extra for fast access, ISPs would be able to slow down speeds to certain websites and services like Netflix." Which I'm pretty sure, is not what the author of the article meant.
  • The wording is off because there was no slowing down of traffic. Congestion at Tier 1 interconnects (read up on peering) is not "slowing down traffic". And paying to peer with a provider to bypass congestion and/or leverage a CDN is not paying extra for fast access. While we're at it the Title II proposal from the FCC does not regulate Tier 1 networks where the highest volume of traffic and disputes that affect everyone happen to be.
  • Yep.  But Silicon Valley's PR machine did a masterful job of convincing people that a lack of Tier 1 capacity is exclusively the responsibility of ISPs to fix. Unfortunately for them, "net neutrality" isn't going to suddenly force ISPs to saddle much higher costs for a small proportion of the Internet's users who are data hogs (and don't want to pay for the associated costs).  It will simply result in ISPs freezing their existing network infrastructure and "equally distributing" congested bandwidth. Then the net neutrality folks will be back with another tantrum demanding another set of regulations that will "really, truly fix things this time."  While of course having no understanding of the economics of the whole thing.
  • yet nothing on the filler in-between the lines? This whole argument isn't just about the "nice" things the government says it will do for you since it has almost never happened that way. I still can't believe people can still be suckers for such lipservice and bullshit
  • Agreed.
  • All of those decrying government regulation of the internet, thinking you sound like free-market libertarian crusaders, really are just corporate stooges, doing the work of giant corporations who will still screw you over.  Grow up and stop carrying Ted Cruz's water.
  • Oh nooooooooes!!! I'm being downvoted by the FOX News crowd!
  • grow up how? By having a nanny state dictate what can and cannot happen for us while selectively letting those same "giant corporations" screw us over as long as their pals directly or indirectly to our politicians? Wake up and read the shit they don't want you to be wise to and you'll see a very different picture of what's to come. I nor anyone else here is for getting reamed by Comcast or whoever, but we can see the lesser of  22 evils. We aren't so biased or live the world through whatever colored glasses someone else told us to wear to see that what's going on here will not only be more of the same but much, much worse and how it will fit into treaties they keep you in the dark about like the TPP (what little had to be leaked about it). We just saw some of the same bullshit arguments with the Affordable Care Act and guess who's reaping record profits and guess who's paying more for less service despite all the promises and media lying? There's a name for this kind of practice where government totally intercedes and tells how aad who can do business while exempting their friends with regulations that only beneft the while stifling others:  FASCISM
  • Haha, ok buddy sure. Go relax and watch Hannity.
  • The fact that you single out Fox News as a problem, compared with all the other news organizations shows you are clueless.
  • Singling out Fox is totally valid and fair. They are the largest and most watched network in the USA and they are also the ones according to many studies that have the least informed users. They also operate as a wing of the GOP doing their bid. Do you think they did an expose on how many republicans will get rich if the Keystone Pipeline gets built? Do you think they will tell their users how many shares Boehner has in oil companies and other members too who will get richer as the US suffers with this pipeline? How much foreign companies will remove and give away to foriegn entities? Fox will only do what is right for the pockets of the right and that is proven time and time again, the Pipeline is just the latest fiasco. It's not even left vs right but their money over everything else.
  • Their money? You say its about the right's money, so it's still right vs left...
  • if you didn't notice, they are self-censoring themselves because they're mostly compromised. On top of that Boehner is a hack and a shill that provides nothing more than empty threats for the sole purpose of maintaining deniable plausibility between the 2 parties. I don't think you notice that for the last few decades that each new administration propogates the previous one's agendas. I also don't think you saw how evasive NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, and virtually every other major news agency is when it comes to reporting progressive fraud and globalist agendas. Did anyone say a thing about Obama's investments in big pharma before he drafted bills that created a fake flu scare that awarded billions to pharmaceutical companies that not only bank-rolled his senate runs but that he w