FCC said to be revising broadband rules proposal

Chairman Tom Wheeler reportedly addresses net neutrality concerns

Published: May 12, 2014 12:00 PM

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images News

The FCC recently proposed new rules for regulating broadband Internet—and they didn't go over so well with the public, consumer advocates (including Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports), and even many companies that are major Internet players. The big concern has been that under the proposal, Internet service providers (ISPs) will be allowed to give preferential treatment to traffic from companies that are willing and able to pay a premium for that top-tier service.

But the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will be addressing concerns and revising the proposed rules, "...including offering assurances that the agency won't allow companies to segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes." The new language of the proposal makes it clear that the FCC "will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official."

Accoriding to the WSJ, an FCC official said "the draft would also seek comment on whether such agreements, called 'paid prioritization,' should be banned outright, and look to prohibit the big broadband companies, such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., from doing deals with some content companies on terms that they aren't offering to others."

We'll be following this story as it unfolds. The FCC vote is planned for Thursday, so check back for more. And take a look at our podcast on net neutrality for more background on this controversial topic.

—Carol Mangis

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