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FCC Chairman steps in it by trying to defend Net Neutrality

(Tech News) Net Neutrality has long been a contentious issue as policymakers debate the very future of technology, but the current FCC Chairman played his hand recently and hasn’t seen a warm reception.

net neutrality

net neutrality

Tom Wheeler, the new FCC Chairman has no apparent interest in net neutrality, as the new rules he has proposed and defended would allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to create premium service channels (read: more reliable), called “fast lanes” in order to deliver content to their users. His new proposal is meant to revise the original neutrality rules which prevented ISPs from stopping or prioritizing users’ access to content.

The ISPs were only to be conduits that carried data to and fro and quickly and efficiently as possible, without considering its source. It maintained a “neutral” stance, thus, “net neutrality.” But Wheeler’s new proposal is shaking this up.

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As the Consumerist reports, the FCC Chair is handing out copies of his new net neutrality proposal. And defending said proposal, stating, “There has been a great deal of misinformation that has recently surfaced regarding the draft Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking…[t]he Notice does not change the underlying goals of transparency, no blocking of lawful content, and no unreasonable discrimination among users established by the 2010 Rule.” Sure. Sounds completely reasonable, right? Thanks for insulting our intelligence.

Why this issue is critical, even to you

Chris Morran at the Consumerist provides the perfect example: “We’ve already seen this sort of passive-aggressive hostage-taking happen with Netflix customers in the last year.

Rather than open up more connections to ease bottlenecking of Netflix downstream traffic, Comcast, Verizon and AT&T each decided to maintain the status quo on their peering connections to Netflix’s bandwidth providers, resulting in those customers seeing cripplingly slow and broken streams. Why would you expect the ISPs to behave any differently if they are suddenly allowed to charge for priority access?”

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Why indeed. Most people who support net neutrality agree, the best way to deal with this issue is not the way that the FCC has proposed; but rather, to simply update the old guidelines with new terminology, offering an easy solution.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal on May 15, 2014. Then, they will accept feedback from the pubic. And every voice will count; keep your eyes open for updates so you can voice your opinion.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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