Net Neutrality Takes a Hit

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced yesterday that he wants to remove the regulatory classification the previous chairman used to create tough net neutrality rules. He is proposing to change the classification of internet providers from “common carriers” under Title II to “information services” under Title I. This change would give them quite a bit more leniency, which they were thrilled to hear.

Net neutrality is the term that people use to describe how services like Netflix could potentially pay a company like Sprint more money to get access to better streaming to their customers. So Netflix would run faster than Hulu, only on Sprint’s network. This can also lead to a company like Sprint to throttle other video streaming services. So Hulu would definitely be much slower than the competition, who is paying Sprint more.

Repealing the Title II classification will give more responsibility for following the rules to the internet providers. The current classification compels them to follow the rules with laws. It’s like a yellow light. The light means you should slow down, because it’s about to turn red. But, how many people actually slow down and follow the rule? More likely you might speed up to try and beat the light. Internet providers claim that the current rules are limiting innovation and investments to their business.

Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all came out in favor of what Pai is proposing.

On one side of the net neutrality debate is the internet providers, mainly those listed above. On the other side of the debate is the Internet Association including many of the biggest web services like Google, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and Dropbox. “The current FCC net neutrality rules are working and these consumer protections should not be changed,” says Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association. “Consumers pay for access to the entire internet free from blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.”

The full text of his proposal will be released this afternoon. I’m sure there will be statements from both fronts once they are able to interpret the new rules.