The CEOs of some of the largest ISPs in the U.S., including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, signed a letter to the FCC that supported the creation of a so-called slow lane. Their reasoning? The government shouldn't mess with their business, and doing so would make it difficult for them to continue to innovate. As the major carriers continue a wave of unprecedented consolidation, the combination of market-dominant monopolies and the freedom to charge more to bigger fish who can afford it means their shareholders are happy campers today.
Web services companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix have a decidedly different perspective. They call the FCC's plan a “grave threat” to an open Internet because it would allow ISPs to discriminate against content providers - and it would add cost and complexity to their business models, which are all based on an open and free Internet. Not surprisingly, content owners, artists and other creatives have protested the move, as well.
Nothing changes today, of course. It's just one step in a very long process. Next up, a comment-and-review period, then a second vote, then a final FCC ruling later this year.
- FCC approves plan to allow for paid priority on Internet (Washington Post)
- FCC Advances Fast-Lane Web Plan on ‘Net-Neutrality’ (Bloomberg)
- FCC to cripple the Internet (Fox News)
- FCC chairman revises fast-lane option in net neutrality (USA Today, May 12)
- The FCC is going to ruin the Internet this week (Inc. Magazine)
- Say no to the Internet Slow Lane (OpenMedia.ca)
- A rising tide of Internet regulation (Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe)