What the US U-turn on net neutrality means to India

The Verge

The Verge

That would make these actions enforceable by the Federal Trade Commission, which can take action against companies that violate contracts with consumers or that participate in anticompetitive and fraudulent activity. "What internet service providers want to do is be able to prioritize traffic".

But this week, the leadership at the Federal Communications Commission put forth a plan to kill the foundation of this openness. Spectrum is a public resource and it needs to be spent on maximisation of public good. Pai argues that those small tech companies can fight such issues under antitrust or consumer rights federal laws.

FAST LANES, SLOW LANES Sohn, however, suggests there's reason to worry about more subtle forms of discrimination, such as "paid prioritization". She has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers.

Under the current regulations ISPs can not favour some Internet traffic over other other, which they would dearly love to be able to do as it would be such a massive new revenue stream for them.

But according to U.S. Census numbers regarding broadband, almost 80 percent of American households don't have more than one option.

The one rule that was spared is the so-called "transparency rule", which requires broadband providers to disclose how they manage their networks.

The Commission is also shifting enforcement of rules from itself to the Federal Trade Commission.

"Chairman Pai's proposal, if implemented, represents the end of net neutrality as we know it and defies the will of millions of Americans who support the 2015 Open Internet Order".

Yes and no. The FTC already oversees consumer protection and competition for the whole economy. Former FCC chairman had previously warned that replacing FCC with a more lenient FTC, won't be enough to police ISPs. Last year, Verizon joined AT&T to create FreeBee Data, which is essentially the same thing, also known as sponsored data, where the carriers bear the cost of additional data served to users of these specific services on the web. For example, the Associated Press in 2007 found Comcast was blocking some file-sharing. It's all a bit cumbersome and convoluted and the ISPs will be much happier if (when) the new proposals go through and they will be able to throttle away to the heart's content.

This investigation isn't about the substantive issues concerning net neutrality. The Quartz piece even took the liberty of making its main image a mock-up of what the end of net neutrality might look like in the United States for home internet instead of showing the example from Portugal.

Netflix, which could face fees from network owners under Pai's dubious version of internet freedom, expressed opposition to the plan. Every one of those efforts has been opposed by the corporations that consumers rely on to deliver the internet.

There will be ways to get around the new regime. It now says that over 7 million out of 21 million comments were "fake" and had reported a DDoS attack during the comment period. (Indeed, analysis showed that, in all, hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way, including tens of thousands per state in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and possibly others.) Impersonation and other misuse of a person's identity violates NY law, so my office launched an investigation.

In June, Schneiderman's office contacted the FCC for records related to the public comment system to determine who was behind the fraud, then followed up nine times over five months.

With this week's proposal, the FCC is trusting ISPs to tell the public whenever they engage in business practices that have historically drawn ire from customers.

MORE DETAILS The formal proposal reveals more details of the plan than were in the FCC's Tuesday press release. The voting will be conducted in an open meeting on December 14.

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