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Government The Internet

From FCC Head Wheeler, a Yellow Light For Internet Fast Lanes 149

An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided to back-pedal just a bit on his recent proposal to end the "Open Internet" regulation regime in favor of a system with more liberal rules that could include so-called internet fast lanes, by means of which major ISPs could favor or disfavor different kinds or providers of internet traffic. Says an article at USA Today, 'Wheeler's latest revision doesn't entirely ban Internet fast lanes, leaving room for some public-interest cases like a healthcare company sending electrocardiography results. But unlike his initial proposal last month, Wheeler is proposing to specifically ban certain types of fast-lanes, including prioritization given by ISPs to their subsidiaries that make and stream content, according to an FCC official who wasn't authorized talk about the revisions publicly before the vote. Wheeler is also open to applying some "common carrier" rules that regulate telephone companies, which would result in more stringent oversight of the ISPs in commercial transactions.'" Update: 05/13 16:37 GMT by T : Oops -- I missed this earlier, substantially similar story.
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From FCC Head Wheeler, a Yellow Light For Internet Fast Lanes

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  • Re:Victory..? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:28PM (#46990609)
    Its a slippery step in the right direction, but not enough for me. The devil is always in the details.
  • Re:Victory..? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadDecoy ( 877617 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:35PM (#46990673)
    I have mixed feelings about that. While I do feel that having 'fast lanes' would be appropriate for certain civil services, those considerations would be used as a trojan horse for corporations to shove legal policy through the system. The need for sufficiently fast internet should actually strengthen the argument for net neutrality. The internet has become such a critical part of the societal infrastructure, that it should be maintained like one. If all traffic is equal, and we're worried about some critical health service needing bandwidth, then we should upgrade the hardware instead of creating an artificially scarce resource.
  • by n0ano ( 148272 ) <> on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @12:43PM (#46990769) Homepage

    including prioritization given by ISPs to their subsidiaries that make and stream content

    Sigh. Comcast won't prioritize its subsidiary's traffic, it will de-prioritize its competitors traffic.

    Please, just classify ISPs as a common carrier (like you should have done years ago) and be done with it.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:35PM (#46991403) Homepage

    some public-interest cases like a healthcare company sending electrocardiography results

    This is a patently deceptive meme. It is intended to tug at your heart strings to sell the case, but it is not a good application of a fast lane. Cardio results do not need high performance lines, because they produce a tiny trickle of data. They need high availability, which a fast lane does not help. If Mr. Wheeler is really suggesting that paid prioiritization will render the standard lane so unusably clogged that a few bytes of cardio data won't fit over the pipe in a split second, then he is hoisting himself by his own petard.

  • by NotSanguine ( 1917456 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:18PM (#46991863) Journal

    It seems to me that one of the biggest problems with the consolidation of ISPs with content providers is that they have a vested interest in keeping upload speeds low, so that their customers can't compete with them. I would go farther than some of those commenting on this and suggest that content providers should not be allowed to own/operate ISPs or own the "last mile."

    Those who own "the last mile," as well as ISPs (they should be different entities as well) should all be classified as "common carriers." Further, "last mile" owners should be required to provide (at reasonable cost) access to any/all ISPs that want to provide service to end-users.

    Again, upload speeds should not be throttled. Obviously, those who want higher upload (or download) speeds can certainly pay for that service. Service bundles (TV/Phone/Internet) provide little benefit to end-users and often give incumbent monopolies customer lock-in. Give us Glass-Steagall for the Internet (I'd like it back in the financial industry too, but that's a whole other level of rip-off).

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