In addition to the bandwidth issue, commissioners are concerned about large ISPs blocking websites
May 15, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a plan that would allow large ISPs to charge sites like Netflix more to receive preferential bandwidth treatment over smaller companies and websites with less resources.
The change, approved in a three-to-two vote along partisan political lines, “could unleash a new economy on the Web,” The Washington Post reports today.
This new economy will undoubtedly result in less choice for consumers and lead to what may be termed the “televization” of the internet. In other words large players like NBC and Disney will effectively monopolize the medium as they now do with cable and broadcast television.
“[S]maller companies that can’t afford to pay for faster delivery would likely face additional obstacles against bigger rivals. And consumers could see a trickle-down effect of higher prices as Web sites try to pass along new costs of doing business with Internet service providers.”
In addition to the bandwidth issue, commissioners are concerned about large ISPs blocking websites. In February, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said new rules would prevent content blocking.
In January an appeals court, however, ruled the FCC rules represented overreach and gave Verizon and other ISPs new latitude in determining prices for providing Netflix, Amazon, Google and Ebay.
The plan, in addition to raising prices, will also allow large ISPs to hobble sites deemed politically and socially unacceptable, from pornography to hacker sites and, importantly, alternative media and political sites.