The FCC Tries To Set Record Straight On Net Neutrality, Doesn’t Quite

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The FCC’s Tom Wheeler published a short entry this morning regarding what his agency is set to propose today regarding net neutrality. Writing that he wants to “conclude this proceeding and have enforceable rules by the end of the year,” he goes on to declare that his “proposal would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted.”

That’s good, and on-point. However, Wheeler goes on to say the following:

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.53.20 AMYou’ll note that this doesn’t appear to explicitly ban content companies paying for better service across an ISPs network. Commercial reasonability could perhaps not be “flatly illegal” in certain circumstances. So, while Wheeler paints the right tone, he doesn’t fully enforce it in the details.

This could be merely a wording issue, and when the notice is released, we’ll get into its weeds.

The conclusion to his note is only slightly encouraging:

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.55.25 AM

Point three is our sticking point. Its final clause is the crux of why we need net neutrality, but point three, along with points one and two do not ban the artificial speeding of content of non-affiliated parties. This is irksome.

The gist here is that we are either going to have a level Internet playing field, or not. And the above doesn’t quite square the circle.

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER ERIC HAUSER UNDER CC BY 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN CROPPED)