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FCC moves forward on net neutrality plan: What now?

Grant Gross | May 16, 2014
So what happens now that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to release a net neutrality proposal and seek public comments?

It's "unacceptable" for broadband providers to be gatekeepers of Web content, he added.

Wheeler, however, said an agreement earlier this year that gives Netflix faster speeds on Comcast's network is a peering arrangement not covered by net neutrality rules. The FCC is looking into complaints about peering arrangements, he said, but that issue is separate from net neutrality.

What are the prospects that the FCC will regulate broadband as a common carrier, utility-style service, as some net neutrality advocates have called for?Wheeler said he still believes the best way to pass net neutrality rules is to follow a road map set out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in January. The court pointed to a section of the Telecommunications Act that gives the commission authority to promote broadband deployment as the hook for passing new net neutrality rules, while some groups have called for the commission to take the bigger step and reclassify broadband under old telecom regulations.

Wheeler believes his approach would be the quicker way to restore net neutrality rules, although he also said he's open to all options. If the commission moved to reclassify broadband, it would likely face a lengthy court fight initiated by broadband providers, and a potential backlash in Congress.

 

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