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The new proposal mocks Net Neutrality

FCC Wants to Give Corporations Their Own Internet

In short, service provider companies can now charge content providers money to speed up their content delivery and the content providers can limit access to that faster content to people paying a higher price for it.

While the decision was based on cable company practice, it obviously benefits telecoms like Verizon who also offer high-speed service.

Apparently, the FCC wasn't too unhappy either. Chairman Tom Wheeler (a former telecom industry lobbyist) reacted in stunningly triumphant terms, assuring us all that our access to the Internet will be completely protected. In fact, he said the ruling actually gives the FCC more regulatory power. This new proposal, carving out a slice of the Internet for rich corporations to operate more quickly and cleanly, was apparently what he meant.

In his defense of the current FCC plan, Wheeler explains that we would all still have access to everything on the Internet. The proposal, he explains, "will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court's ruling in January." But that January ruling threw Net Neutrality out the window and it's clear that with this new proposal our access to certain content will be slower, more prone to start and stop "buffering" and less crisp than the faster connection unless we pay more for it.

It's like the locksmith assuring us that our broken door lock will remain broken.

If that spasm of regulatory double-speak doesn't provoke a groan, the argument by decision defenders will: they say that, while the companies will pay for the faster connection, no access provider will charge the consumer more for it.

But the content provider will. Obviously an outfit like Netflix is not going to offer this higher speed service that it is paying the access providers handsomely for to customers without charging them more for it. In fact, if past practice is any indication, even those of us who don't or can't pay for faster internet service we will all see our fees for watching this kind of on-line content rise, whether we're watching it on the faster connection or not. Netflix pays Comcast more and charges the pass-along costs (with some profit mixed in): just the kind of hustle Net Neutrality was invented to prevent.

If the proposal is approved, as is expected, Net Neutrality will be buried. But the true threat to the Internet's existence isn't only the "pay for speed" proposal. To make this happen, providing companies will have to restructure their technology to allow for a faster "lane" on the Internet. There already are, of course, various speeds of "high-speed" service and that is maintained by the company's determining which connecting server the customer is going to access. When you enter the Internet you are immediately connected to a server that handles outgoing and incoming traffic at a specific speed. If you pay for higher speeds, you get the higher-speed systems with their servers.

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