Republicans propose net neutrality compromise -

Republicans propose net neutrality compromise

Stan Ward

Stan Ward

January 5, 2015

Happy New Year dear readers! May your new year be bright and full of good things for all of you-including health, wealth, happiness and communications privacy.

It may be that the new Republican controlled congress is chiming in to make it a good new year by agreeing to – will wonders never cease – a compromise! Yes, that’s right. On the subject of net neutrality, you know, the issue that they were opposed to for fear of utility-like regulation by the government. Well, they may be on board with supporting net neutrality, that is objecting to the granting of preferential , faster access for some for a fee, as long as it is not tied to the possibility of people being charged for Internet usage as is the case with other utilities under Title II.

This change in position may mark a watershed moment, and presage a cause for optimism that the new congress will not just be obstructionist for the foreseeable future. For the consumer this is good news because it offers the prospect of unfettered access to the Internet, as before, but without the nasty fees and government regulations that shackle other utilities as the Obama administration proposed .

The compromise may come about because of the cable lobby’s fear of being smothered in utility- like regulation, and the opening up of competition to under-financed outfits who would avoid costly infrastructure expenditures by utilizing existing wires, the so-called ’last mile’ provision.

President Obama has urged the FCC to treat broadband as a utility, and the commission is dominated and headed by an Obama appointee, Tom Wheeler. They haven’t tipped their hand as to how they’re leaning – the deliberations have been ongoing in private.

This proposed legislation would attempt to end debate over the FCC’s power to regulate net neutrality, or the idea that broadband companies should treat all Internet traffic equally. If enacted, the proposed legislation would create a Title X that would give FCC chairman Tom Wheeler the authority to prevent broadband companies from blocking or slowing traffic to Websites or charging content companies such as Netflix for faster access for their subscribers – a tactic known as ’paid prioritization.’

In exchange for that, the FCC would have to avoid imposing Title II (i.e., fees, etc.) on Internet providers. The latter point seems to dovetail with the Obama administrations concept of net neutrality.

The industry appears to favor this initiative by Republicans, and passage, while not assured, seems likely. It remains to be seen whether President Obama will embrace the compromise or continue to muddy the waters with a desire to impose more government regulation.

Editor’s note: Stan’s interpretation of the situation here differs considerably from that of the rest of the BestVPN staff.