FCC To Allow Commercial Discrimination on the Internet

24/04/2014 15:51

Source: Public Knowledge

According to press reports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will propose new net neutrality rules this Thursday. It's been reported that the updated rules will prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating or blocking websites. However, ISPs would be able to charge companies for preferential treatment if the ISPs' discrimination is commercially reasonable. 

The following can be attributed to Michael Weinberg, Vice President at Public Knowledge: 

"The FCC is inviting ISPs to pick winners and losers online. The very essence of a "commercial reasonableness" standard is discrimination. And the core of net neutrality is non discrimination. This is not net neutrality. This standard allows ISPs to impose a new price of entry for innovation on the Internet. When the Commission used a commercial reasonableness standard for wireless data roaming, it explicitly found that it may be commercially reasonable for a broadband ISP to charge an edge provider higher rates because its service is competitively threatening.  

"It is hard to see how the commercial reasonableness standard, which inherently offers less protection than the standard in the previous Open Internet Rules, can serve the same policy goals. Additionally, approaching discrimination on a case-by-case basis creates less certainty than clear rules and disadvantages small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Commission should instead seek to find a way to ensure true net neutrality, including protections against discrimination by ISPs for commercial purposes. The DC Circuit Court opinion made it clear that the only way to achieve net neutrality is to reclassify internet access as a telecommunications service." 

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