Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An unintended consequence to FCC-imposed net neutrality: fees for senders?

An overzealous FCC, using its powers to reclassify Internet ISP’s as essentially utility telephone carriers, could compromise USS flexibility in dealing with authoritarian governments, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday February 18, 2015, p. A15, by Robert M. McDowell and Gordon M. Goldstein, link here. “Debtors love FCC’s plan to regulate the Internet”.
This could lead to an environment where user-generated content on the Web is no longer free for posters, especially for content to be viewed overseas.  I’m not sure how significant that would be in practice because dictators tend to block content anyway – but the blocking isn’t always effective.  I have a little trouble how it would actually happen, but there are precedents for senders’ fees (at least internationally) in traditional telephone.  And that certainly is the case with mail and shipping.
Of course, there have been proposals to make microcharges for sending email, to combat spam, and that sounds like a good idea.  But could the same idea apply to tweets? Blog posts (which can be spammed)?  It could be interesting. 

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