FCC OKs Plan That Could End Net Neutrality

Proposal advances on 3-2 vote, but 'do not freak'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2014 11:34 AM CDT
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler testifies on Capitol Hill, Dec. 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – The FCC today voted to move forward with a controversial proposal that could allow Internet service providers to create "fast lanes," in a 3-2 vote along party lines. The proposal rolled out today could allow Internet companies to strike deals to speed delivery of their content, though those deals would be scrutinized by the FCC. But Mashable reports the proposal also includes an option in which broadband services would be treated as a more tightly regulated utility; that would "make it easier for the FCC to enforce net neutrality provisions," per the Wall Street Journal. The proposal also asks whether the fast-lane deals should be banned entirely. Those last two changes were added this week to appease Chairman Tom Wheeler's two fellow Democrats, who had expressed misgivings, the LA Times reports.

Still, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel voiced misgivings all the same, criticizing the process as rushed. "I would have done this differently. I would have taken the time to consider the future," she said. "We cannot have a two-tiered Internet." The proposal now enters a four-month public comment period, which will be followed by a final vote. "Agencies almost always change their rules from the initial proposal," the head of one technology public interest group tells the Washington Post. "Do not freak." For more on the issue, click here. (Read more FCC stories.)

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