FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Give Mobile Networks a Pass

December 21, 2010

(ChattahBox Technology News)—The Federal Communications Commission is poised to announce a new package of net neutrality regulations, intended to preserve open and equal access to the Internet for everyone, from the small blogger to a mega corporation. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) calls net neutrality “the most important free speech issue of our time.” But Franken, like many other net neutrality advocates are not impressed with the new rules. The new regulations not only don’t go far enough to force broadband providers to provide unimpeded access to all of the Internet, but the rules give wireless providers the power to block subscribers from accessing legal sites. In a nutshell, everyone pretty much hates the new rules. Conservatives are ranting and raving about socialism or some such thing, while progressives see the end of the Internet as we know it. And the new regulations are expected to be challenged and tied up in the courts for years, so the protection of the Internet is still a long way off.

“The rules are expected to bar providers from discriminating against legal Internet traffic and require more transparency. They also would let broadband providers for the first time charge more to companies that want faster service for delivery of games, videos or other services.” [...]

“The proposed rules are expected to provide some new protections for consumers, such as a guarantee that they can access legal websites, and require providers to give more data on Internet speeds and service. The rules include fewer restrictions on wireless broadband networks.”

Sen. Franken slams the new rules, as “worse than nothing.” He is particularly incensed over the free ride given to wireless networks.

“Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).”

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposed rules are expected to gain approval after Tuesday’s hearing.

Photo Source: US Fed. Gov., Public Domain


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