The FCC is getting ready to lay down its proposal for net neutrality going forward this week, The New York Times reports. According to the report, utility-style regulation is “widely expected” (labeling the Internet as a utility), and the FCC’s proposal will leak sometime this week.
What does the proposal entail? According to The Verge, the FCC is expected to back protection for the Internet that should keep things exactly how they are. ISPs would be reclassified and regulated under “Title II” of the Telecommunications Act, which would prevent them from being selective with what they allow users to view/use.
- ISPs won’t be able to throttle your speeds.
- ISPs won’t be able to block websites you want to visit
- ISPs won’t be able to create “fast lanes” to websites or services that pay them off.
The biggest part of the proposal isn’t just that though. The FCC is expected to mix wireless and wired broadband content in the same pool. Having not only ISPs be unable to throttle or restrict your Internet access at home, but ALSO on your smartphone, is huge. If this report is indeed accurate, AT&T and Verizon, the nation’s two biggest wireless carriers, will not be happy and will more than likely paint these regulations as potentially hurting innovation. Wireless service providers have thought of themselves as special companies that should be exempt from any regulation that other utilities share. This has lead to them having control over pretty much whatever they’ve wanted – the introduction of data throttling being the most common crippling tactic used.
What’s BlackBerry stance on this? Well, about two weeks ago, BlackBerry CEO John Chen talked about net neutrality, and introduced a strange concept called app neutrality into the mix. While the FCC is not expected to take that last idea into account, they are going against what BlackBerry’s suggestion for net neutrality was. Chen was clear about his and BlackBerry’s stance on the issue when he said, “reclassifying broadband as a Title II service seems excessive to us.” BlackBerry’s CEO instead pointed towards other FCC regulations which apply to the C-Block broadband spectrum auctioned in 2008 as a possible solution going forward.
It’ll be an interesting month to say the least, and it could potentially get a lot crazier in the coming days. The debate over net neutrality is far from over.