FCC to Vote On Net Neutrality Plan
The FCC is set to vote today on a net neutrality plan.
The new regulations would prohibit telecommunications companies that provide high-speed internet service from blocking access by customers to any legal content, applications or service.
But, for the first time, there will be a policy that will allow for what has been termed "paid-prioritisation", where companies will be able to pay for a faster service.
There will be greater restrictions on cable/wired providers than wireless:
The rules would allow mobile firms to block access to sites or applications that specifically compete with a carrier's voice or video services.
Al Franken is very opposed. [More..]
Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn't nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).
Franken says this is the most important free speech issue of our time:
Imagine if Comcast customers couldn't watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast's Video On Demand service. Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.
The rules are expected to pass 3 to 2.
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