Internet providers will not be subjected to so-called “Net neutrality” rules and may experiment with tiered, usage-based pricing and “network management” practices, according to new rules being considered by the Federal Communications Commission this month.
Advocates of Net neutrality had hoped the regulatory agency would mandate Internet service providers treat all traffic equally: one of the Web’s founding principles.
Instead, the FCC’s Internet regulations adopts many proposals by search and telecom giants Google and Verizon, with the caveat that wireless telephone providers not block competing voice applications.
In a speech, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski specified that the FCC would permit ISPs to charge heavy bandwidth users even more, creating a tiered pricing structure. ISPs would also be able to charge fees to businesses serving large quantities of data.
The announcement is a victory for Comcast, the nation’s largest cable Internet provider, which recently forced a bandwidth toll upon Netflix partner Level 3. The company called Comcast’s move “extortion” but agreed to their conditions to prevent any service interruptions.
“With this action, Comcast demonstrates the risk of a ‘closed’ Internet, where a retail broadband Internet access provider decides whether and how their subscribers interact with content,” the company’s chief legal officer said in a media advisory.
Comcast insisted the move had nothing to do with Net neutrality.
The company has been leading the charge among ISPs to establish tiered-based pricing systems. Comcast admitted in 2008 that it uses “network management” practices to speed up some data transfers and slow down others, and users of peer-to-peer file sharing services have complained to the FCC that the provider has blocked their transfers altogether.
Tiered pricing structures are already in place for many communications providers like AT&T and Cricket, which offer wireless broadband services. Verizon said it would implement similar pricing structures in the coming months.
The FCC’s rules would permit the practice on wired networks as well. Both Comcast and Time Warner, two of America’s largest wired broadband providers, have already experimented with the practice.
A Texas-based trial run of Time Warner’s bandwidth caps saw users paying nearly $30 a month for 768 kilobits-per-second access, with a limit of 5 gigabytes per month and a $1 fee for each gigabyte they went over. One step-up on their pricing tier had users paying nearly $55 for true broadband speeds of 15 megabits-per-second, with a limit of 40 gigabytes per month.
Public advocates say the move may ultimately force heavy Internet users to consume less bandwidth and stay tied to television subscriptions over cable and satellite. Comcast, which is in the process of merging with NBC-Universal, stands to benefit tremendously from the arrangement.
The American Cable Association’s (ACA) claimed the merger “will send monthly cable bills higher by billions of dollars over the next decade.”
Major corporations have long sought a way to charge and earn more for bandwidth, ever since Enron attempted to create a bandwidth trading market where space in data pipes would be traded as a commodity like oil or gold.
On wired Internet, which is expected to dramatically decrease in relevance in the coming years as fourth-generation wireless networks proliferate, a “public Internet” would be protected from bandwidth throttling. Companies, however, would be permitted to experiment with establishing super-tiers for preferred traffic, but must justify why individual services should be separated from the public Internet.
The FCC would additionally require broadband providers to disclose their network management practices.
The chairman’s proposal lines up closely with a bill proposed by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who campaigned on pledges to institute Net neutrality rules. His bill, however, completely undermined those principles, but Democrats scrapped the legislation in Sept.
The commission was expected to vote on the measure during it’s Dec. 21st meeting.
Jim Jordan childishly refuses to condemn Trump’s Ukraine call: ‘Democrats have been out to get the president’
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Sunday argued that President Donald Trump should not be impeached because he never completed his quid pro quo with Ukraine.
During an interview on CBS, host Margaret Brennan explained that Trump only released aid to Ukraine after a whistleblower came forward with allegations that he was trying to bribe the country's president to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
"Most important, the Ukrainians did nothing, as far as investigations go, to get the aid released," Jordan opined. "There was never this quid pro quo, that the Democrats all promise existed before President Trump released the phone call."
Chuck Todd burns down GOP’s Ron Johnson’s Ukraine excuses: ‘You seem to blame this on everybody but the president’
A clearly exasperated Chuck Todd was forced to talk over a loud and filibustering Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday morning for once again pushing Ukraine conspiracies and arguing over whether Donald Trump wanted the president of Ukraine to attack former Vice President Joe Biden on his behalf.
Having let Johnson throw out several scenarios and try and spread the blame around, Todd, finally cut in to say, "You seem to blame this on everybody but the president. It was the president’s actions."
"You’re blaming everybody else for the reason we’re in this situation, other than the president," Todd continued. "Isn’t the president’s own behavior, which raised all of these yellow and red flags, isn’t is that why we’re here?”
I can ‘do anything I want, I’m a police officer’: Indiana cop fired after racially profiling black men in mall parking lot
A white police officer working for Lawrence Township in Indiana has been fired after he was filmed accosting two black men sitting in their car outside of a Nordstrom Rack and accusing them of being "suspicious."
According to WTHR, Lawrence Township Deputy Constable Daryl Jones approached cousins Aaron Blackwell and Durell Cunningham on the north side of Indianapolis but was filmed on a cellphone that eventually led to him losing his job.
The cousins stated that Jones racially profiled them and tried to run their car plates.