Net Neutrality & Internet Fast Lanes
What came out of a recent hearing in Congress about protecting consumers through net neutrality and antitrust law, was a lot of talk about how involved the government should be on this issue. The main reason for this hearing was to decide whether to hand over net neutrality enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Historically the FCC was tasked with upholding the Open Internet Order. However, Congress appears to be reassessing the law and actually expressed support for paid prioritization and Internet fast lanes.
For many years despite the FCC’s threats, ISP’s have been allowed to prioritize services and tier their packages for faster internet and better service. The most significant issue some special interest groups have with this is the ISP’s practice of prioritizing their own content. For the user it makes sense, they want faster service and access to these priority services, they pay more. This is not an uncommon practice in many industries.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a recent article, the big worry is that “ISPs become gatekeepers rather than conduit,” and where does it go from there?