Thursday, May 15, 2014

FCC punts on fast-lane rules, seeks more public comment

The Federal Communications Commission voted to “punt” today and take public comments for four months before issuing legally binding rules on the extent to which telecommunications providers would be allowed to set up “fast lanes” (or “EZPass lanes, by analogy with commuter turnpikes) for larger companies streaming huge volumes of video.  The benefit for consumers: more films and video become available quickly and conveniently, for those who can pay.  (The convenience might even help solve the piracy problem.)  The downside:  smaller internet companies and startups are at a real disadvantage, an innovation is discouraged in the long run.

The FCC seems to be leaning in the direction of "reclassification", treating broadband Internet service as a utility  There are narrow legal arguments that seem to still give it this authority if it "redefines itself."   
Timothy B.Lee has a summary report at midday Thursday, here

Most media account have emphasized the idea that the FCC is still seriously considering allowing some sort of fast lane for end-user delivery.  Again, that's like allowing toll lanes (as opposed to HOV's) on Interstates near metropolitan areas. 
Apparently, there were some small demonstrations today at FCC, just south if Independence Ave. and the Department of Agriculture in Washington.    

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