In “Your complete guide to the murder of net neutrality,” Michael Hiltzik explains exactly why the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to allow Internet service providers to charge certain clients more for access to a fast lane spells the end to new neutrality. The proposal, being championed by Tom Wheeler, President B. Obama’s appointee as chairman of the FCC, is a direct contradiction to positions Obama championed during his campaign for the presidency.
Wheeler’s proposal, which is scheduled for a preliminary vote by the full FCC on May 15, has been assailed as a full-scale retreat from the open-Internet principle traditionally upheld by the commission, and explicitly supported by President Obama. Wheeler claims he’s not backing away from net neutrality at all, and that assertions to the contrary are the product of “a great deal of misinformation.”
He’s blowing smoke. The critics are right. Wheeler’s proposal will turn the Internet as we know it into the private preserve of a handful of rich and powerful companies. It will make them richer and more powerful. And you’ll be getting the bill. If the commission votes for the proposal, it will then be subject to months of public comments. But the risk is it could become law by the end of this year.
In later parts of his column, Mr. Hiltzik explains why the big corporations will be able to use these developments to their advantage and to the detriment of we consumers. He also explains what we can do. It’s well worth reading.