Net Neutrality Rules To Be Discussed By Communications Regulators On Tuesday

Posted Dec 19, 2010

Communications regulators will be voting for a proposal about Internet traffic rules this Tuesday. The rules would allow Internet providers to control how much bandwidth is distributed to consumers. The rules would acknowledge the need for Comcast and Verizon to charge consumers based on Internet usage.

Republican commissioners said that they prefer Internet usage is free from regulation. Sometimes issues on the FCC agenda are withdrawn at the last minute if agreements cannot be reached. The ability of the FCC to regulate the Internet has been questionable since April as they lack the authority to prevent Comcast from blocking applications that consume a lot of bandwidth.

“I would expect challenges from all directions — people who think it’s gone too far and people who think it hasn’t gone far enough,” said Media Access Project SVP and policy director Andrew Jay Schwartzman.

Below is an excerpt from the Net Neutrality 101 page on

When we log onto the Internet, we take lots of things for granted. We assume that we’ll be able to access whatever Web site we want, whenever we want to go there. We assume that we can use any feature we like — watching online video, listening to podcasts, searching, e-mailing and instant messaging — anytime we choose. We assume that we can attach devices like wireless routers, game controllers or extra hard drives to make our online experience better.

What makes all these assumptions possible is “Network Neutrality,” the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. But all that could change.