Net Neutrality Forces Slam FCC Draft Proposal

The FCC continued to get hammered Thursday by groups saying a draft network neutrality proposal that would allow for a paid priority access to broadband consumers business model, under various limitations, was a threat to the Open Internet.

While FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said that is not the case, period, there are a bunch of nonbelievers.

“Under this terribly misguided proposal, the Internet as we have come to know it would cease to exist and the average American would be the big loser," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). "We must not let private corporations turn bigger and bigger profits by putting a price tag on the free flow of ideas."

"If true, this proposal is a huge step backwards and must be stopped,” said Michael Copps, former FCC chair and advisor to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “If the Commission subverts the Open Internet by creating a fast lane for the 1 percent and slow lanes for the 99 percent, it would be an insult to both citizens and to the promise of the Net."

The Writers Guild of America East was not happy.

"[T]he FCC appears to want the potentially enormous price of the fast lanes to be paid by the entities that offer content to consumers, and to insist that price to be 'reasonable,'" it said. "Two responses are in order: First, it is naive to think that the consumers won't ultimately pay. Second, permitting the key corporate players in the digital world to favor content based on the ability to pay throws the concept of neutrality directly under the bus." 

“Make no mistake, these proposed rules are not ‘net neutrality,’" said the Future of Music Coalition. "This is the moment when the regulatory agency with a mandate to promote competition and diversity did just the opposite. The Internet in America will now be carved into a fast lane for well-heeled corporations and a dirt road for everyone else."

Actually, the proposal is still only a draft. It was being circulated to other commissioners for their input and edits with the plan of voting on it at the May 15 meeting.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.