FCC Votes in Favor of New Network Neutrality Rules: Battle Opens

By Gary Kim May 15, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission has voted in favor of a preliminary proposal to allow both “best effort” and “quality assured” Internet access services for consumers. But the proposal also is tentative, as the FCC also asked for public comment on whether the proposal should be changed before actual rules are adopted, perhaps later in 2014.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is part of the FCC’s effort to craft new "network neutrality" rules that will withstand court challenge.

Opponents often talk about the specific FCC approach as creating “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” for consumer Internet apps. That does not mean the new rules in any way permit blocking of apps. That would continue to be prohibited, as under current FCC rules.

The issue is whether content delivery techniques, routinely used in the backbone of the Internet, can be extended all the way to end user locations, not simply across the backbone to “edge” locations.

Opponents of the content delivery network approach argue it will lead to a two-tier Internet that favors application providers with more money. That might be true, but is no less true of today’s situation, where some app providers buy content delivery network services, and others do not.

Nor are relative financial, engineering, marketing or operational advantages between firms any less “unequal” in all other markets.

But the fact remains that some applications are highly sensitive to packet delay (voice and video), which is why app providers routinely use CDNS across the backbone of the network.

The FCC’s proposal would allow ISPs to create, in addition to best effort access, as at present, CDN services that provide the same latency-controlling benefits as do CDNs operating across the backbone of the network.

In order to prevent unfair business practices, the FCC proposal likely would require that any such quality-enhancing features be made available to all app providers, and not restricted only to the ISP’s own apps and services.

But the FCC also has said it is keeping open the more-drastic option of reclassifying Internet access as a common carrier service.

Now begins a lengthy process of public comment and advocacy by Internet ecosystem participants, as well as a quite, behind the scenes effort to find some workable common ground between the imposition of common carrier regulation and no rules about content blocking; with some new ability to create quality-enhancing features of consumer Internet access services.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Why People Don't Update Their Computers

By: Special Guest    7/13/2018

When the WannaCry ransomware attacked companies all over the world in 2017, experts soon realized it was meant to be stopped by regular updating. Even…

Read More

More Intelligence About The New Intelligence

By: Rich Tehrani    7/9/2018

TMC recently announced the launch of three new artificial intelligence events under the banner of The New Intelligence. I recently spoke with TMC's Ex…

Read More

Technology, Innovation, and Compliance: How Businesses Approach the Digital Age

By: Special Guest    6/29/2018

Organizations must align internally to achieve effective innovation. Companies should consider creating cross-functional teams or, at a minimum, incre…

Read More

Contribute Your Brain Power to The New Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    6/28/2018

The three events that are part of The New Intelligence are all about how businesses and service providers, and their customers, can benefit from artif…

Read More

TMC Launches The New Intelligence - an Unparalleled AI and Machine Learning Conference & Expo in Florida

By: TMCnet News    6/28/2018

TMC announced the launch of The New Intelligence conference and expo - The Event Powering the AI Revolution. This exciting new event will take place o…

Read More