DEAR reader, what kept you? Perhaps you were visiting film-streaming service Netflix, discussion forum Reddit, blogging site WordPress or any of dozens of other popular websites where users are halted at an endlessly spinning “loading” icon. If your first thought was to send an angry missive about your internet provision, the stunt has worked.
September 10th marks Internet Slowdown Day, an effort by activists and web-based firms to suggest how the web might look if rules proposed by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are adopted. At issue is net neutrality, the idea that all data on the internet should be treated equitably, regardless of content or provenance. One of the options mooted by the FCC earlier this year would permit broadband providers—in America, primarily cable companies—to charge certain internet firms for guaranteed levels of service. The cable companies have their eyes on Netflix in particular, whose streamed entertainment sometimes accounts for over a third of all wired download traffic in America, often in competition with their own on-demand offerings.
In Silicon Valley, where a level playing field is seen as a founding principle of the internet and start-ups consider connectivity an inexhaustible resource, this did not go down well. An open market of internet fast and slow lanes would chill innovation, opponents (and The Economist) have argued. Who would consider launching a high-definition gaming service or an online back-up website if reaching customers meant trying to outbid established industry giants? It would be much fairer, say net-neutrality proponents, for the FCC to reclassify broadband provision as a telecommunications service, rather than an information service. It could then choose to enforce the built-in content-neutrality rules laid out in “Title II”, part of the Communications Act of 1934 (legislation first deployed to wrangle the telephone industry).
The FCC has been derided for failing to exert its authority over the issue so far. Twice before it has put forward proposals to protect net neutrality, both summarily struck down by US courts. When it released its latest plan in May, protesters camped out to get a first crack at expressing their displeasure. When the commission received more than a million comments on that plan within two months—an overwhelming majority of which supported net neutrality—the commenting deadline was extended to September 15th. A final ruling may come as early as the end of the year.
The Latest on: Net neutrality
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The Latest on: Net neutrality
- 3 Top Oil and Gas Titans to Invest in This Monthon February 27, 2024 at 9:59 am
Oil and gas stocks are imperative for savvy investors — despite the global push towards net carbon neutrality. With alternative fuels still unable to meet the world’s energy requirements, the ...
- Germany to allow offshore carbon storage to lower emissionson February 27, 2024 at 7:01 am
Germany is finding it difficult to meet its net neutrality goals by 2045 and will now use carbon capture and storage to reach them.
- Exxon Mobil CEO on the ‘dirty secret’ of Net Zero: ‘People who are generating the emissions need to be aware … and pay the price’on February 27, 2024 at 4:17 am
As it stands, we're not on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050 ... To have any chance of achieving carbon neutrality within the next 25 years, civilians must “be willing to pay for carbon reduction ...
- Net Neutrality and the Future of State Broadband Regulationon February 23, 2024 at 2:55 am
The Federal Communiucations Commission's shift on agency action raises important questions about what role, if any, state authorities will play in future Internet governance.
- Why you shouldn't get excited about Senate net neutrality voteson February 16, 2024 at 1:50 pm
The FCC caused quite a stir when it repealed net neutrality last month. As with any controversial decision, lawsuits have been threatened, legislation has been promised, and even a Senate ...
- AP Explains: What is net neutrality and why does it matter?on February 13, 2024 at 4:00 pm
NEW YORK — “Net neutrality” regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the ...
- NET NEUTRALITYon December 23, 2023 at 9:50 am
Seamless reading experience. Save your favourite. "Some misconceptions emerge that a fair-share charge would go against the Net Neutrality principle. Through proper study of the concept ...
- Partners: Trump Could 'Relax' Net Neutrality And Threaten Telecom Consolidationon December 17, 2023 at 11:36 pm
According to Politico, Trump will likely appoint Jeffrey Eisenach to fill Wheeler's spot, a known critic of Wheeler's policies, including net neutrality. As a result, partners are wondering if net ...
- What is net neutrality? As FCC chair weighs return, what to know about the internet ruleon October 2, 2023 at 11:29 am
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced last week that open internet access − or net neutrality − was “a necessity for daily life,” and rules needed to be set for internet service ...
- Appeals court upholds California's net neutrality lawon January 28, 2022 at 1:54 pm
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld California's net neutrality law, rejecting an attempt by broadband industry trade groups to prevent the state from enforcing it. The ruling is the latest ...
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