A few weeks ago, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler set off a firestorm when he announced the FCC would consider adopting rules that would allow cable and telephone companies to charge Internet content providers (such as Amazon, iTunes, Snapchat, Google and others) extra if they desired their content to travel more quickly to customer homes. The reason for the firestorm: that sort of ruling would change the way the Internet operates fundamentally, and allow cable operators and telephone companies enormous potential control over the Internet.
Well, the proposed rules are out. And while Chairman Wheeler made several highly publicized efforts to mollify the critics of the plan, it is pretty clear that the proposed rules have done little to satisfy those who wish to maintain Internet openness or the cable or telephone industry.
The FCC has established a four-month public comment period on the proposed rules: 60 days (until July 15) to submit initial comments and another 57 days (until September 10) for reply comments. Here are links to statements made by each of the five commissioners:
The FCC has created a special mailbox to accept informal comments about the net neutrality proceeding. Elected officials might want to share this special mailbox with constituents if they issue a statement on the issue.
There are a lot of players in the debate, and we’ll post a detailed analysis of the rules later. But what public agencies need to recognize is that this is an important discussion, and the results of this proposed rule change could affect them, and their ability to use the Internet to deliver vital services to consumers.