Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a new hybrid approach to rules designed to secure an open Internet, according to a number of media reports.
The proposal would establish the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should treat all traffic on the Internet equally. But unlike proposed rules considered earlier this year, the new proposal would subject Internet service providers to stricter regulations – similar to a utility – for “wholesale” transactions (the exchange of data from a content provider to the Internet service provider). “Retail” transactions (the transmission of data from the Internet service provider to the consumer) would encounter fewer regulations.
The FCC is trying to address criticism of draft rules it released in May, which would have opened the door for Internet providers to develop new pricing arrangements with companies like Google or Netflix to deliver content at faster speeds. Those earlier rules drew a record three million comments from concerned Internet consumers, broadband providers and business interests.
Internet service providers like Verizon have already said they will have “no choice” but to challenge the FCC in court if it attempts to reclassify broadband providers as utilities.
For more on this subject and the reaction from various technology associations, check out this detailed article from Associations Now.