FCC Considers Another Net Neutrality Plan

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FCC Considers Another Net Neutrality Plan

Nov 3, 2014 12:38 PM, Doug Irwin, CPBE AMD DRB

WASHINGTON�FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a new neutrality plan that would assign common-carrier status to ISP/broadband service providers, and also separate broadband into two categories: �retail'' and �back-end'' services.

�Retail'' service refers to transactions between ISPs and their end-users; �back-end'' transactions refer to those between content providers and ISPs. The plan under consideration would classify the back-end services as those of a common-carrier, according to RCRWireless.com. The plan would still allow for content providers to pay for high-speed access.

ISPs do not want to be classified as common-carriers because of the possibility of more regulation; at the same time, net-neutrality proponents think that the re-classification could give the ISPs too much freedom to let economics dictate the ways and means by which content reaches consumers.

The ability to charge content providers for high-speed access is particularly important to big ISP/network providers such as AT&T and Verizon. Last January AT&T announced that companies could �sponsor'' content for their customers; and in February, Verizon won a lawsuit brought against the FCC, at the U.S. Court of Appeals, that started the latest round of proposed rulemakings on the subject of net-neutrality.

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