How the FCC is killing net neutrality

The Federal Communication Commission’s proposal for new net neutrality rules will allow internet service providers to charge companies for preferential treatment, effectively undermining the concept of net neutrality. The rules will reportedly allow providers to charge companies for preferential treatment so long as they offer that treatment to all interested parties on “commercially reasonable” terms, with the FCC deciding whether the terms are reasonable on a case-by-case basis. 

Federal regulators are expected to release draft net neutrality rules in mid-May as part of an ongoing effort to craft rules for Internet traffic that might actually hold up in court. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Wednesday that the agency would consider draft “Open Internet,” or net neutrality, rules at an agency meeting May 15. As we reported in February, Wheeler will propose basically the same rules that the agency had tried before, but justify them under a different part of the law. Consumer groups have complained about that plan because they’re worried that Wheeler’s rules may not hold up in court either. A federal appeals court rejected two previous versions of net neutrality rules after finding fault in the FCC’s legal reasoning. During the latest smackdown, however, the court suggested that the FCC had some authority to impose net neutrality rules under a section of the law that gives the agency the ability to regulate the deployment of broadband lines.

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