The FCC just dealt the internet a huge blow yesterday, in a move that proves they don’t care about net neutrality. The New York Times reported that that the FCC is proposing a new ruling that would allow Internet service providers to charge companies different rates for faster speed connections.
What that means is that companies like Comcast and Verizon would be able to charge Netflix, Amazon or Google more money for higher buffering speeds. In turn, you may end up paying more to use Netflix and the like.
Tom Wheeler, the F.C.C. chairman, defended the agency’s plans late Wednesday, saying speculation that the F.C.C. was “gutting the open Internet rule” is “flat out wrong.” Rather, he said, the new rules will provide for net neutrality along the lines of the appeals court’s decision.
Still, the regulations could radically reshape how Internet content is delivered to consumers. For example, if a gaming company cannot afford the fast track to players, customers could lose interest and its product could fail.
The rules are also likely to eventually raise prices as the likes of Disney and Netflix pass on to customers whatever they pay for the speedier lanes, which are the digital equivalent of an uncongested car pool lane on a busy freeway.
Consumer groups immediately attacked the proposal, saying that not only would costs rise, but also that big, rich companies with the money to pay large fees to Internet service providers would be favored over small start-ups with innovative business models — stifling the birth of the next Facebook or Twitter.
“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” said Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”
If the new rules deliver anything less, he added, “that would be a betrayal.
It’s a win-win for Comcast and Verizon, but a big loser for those who subscribe to online streaming services.