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FCC to Propose New Net Neutrality Rules that Enable Pay-to-Play

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The Federal Communications Commission is expected to propose new open Internet rules on Thursday. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the rules will prevent service providers from blocking or discriminating against specific websites, but would enable broadband providers to prioritize traffic if companies pay for it.

Under the proposed rules, the FCC would decide on a case-by-case basis whether the arrangements between broadband providers and companies are “commercially reasonable.”

This comes as Netflix reached an agreement giving the company direct access to Comcast’s broadband network. The concern with the rules around net neutrality are that the rules are fine for companies like Netflix who can afford to pay-to-play, but leave out smaller companies who may not be able to afford to strike up such agreements with broadband providers.

These proposed changes come several months after a court of appeals in Washington, D.C. struck down the FCC’s net neutrality rules, arguing that its restrictions to “treat all Internet traffic the same regardless of source” have no legal merit.

The FCC will vote on a final proposal on May 15.

UPDATE Apr. 24: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has posted a blog in response to “a great deal of misinformation that has recently surfaced regarding the draft Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.” Read his blog post, “Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules”, for more.



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