Possible Internet Rules Change. Your Services Could Be Affected.
It's exactly what all internet users in the United States feared; the FCC has proposed to lift regulations on internet neutrality. Pretty much, your internet providing can slow down your Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services if those services don't pay the provider a nice fee.
The new regulations proposed on Thursday by the FCC ends the idea of 'all internet/web traffic should be created equal.'
So what does this mean for you and I?
This means that providers like Comcast and Verizon can now engage deals with content providers to get on the 'fast lane' of the internet. If content providers were not to make a deal, the internet provider in question could either block or slow the speed of delivery from the content provider. So that mean that your Netflix service could have a bunch of 'buffering' problems in the future.
The new regulations, or lack thereof, doesn't mean it will happen but it certainly allows for the option.
Verizon, who sued the FCC to allow deals like this to be made, said it has no intentions of slowing down or preventing their customers from viewing certain sites or content. In their statement released Thursday after they announcement:
[We] have always made clear that we support an open Internet and we have publicly committed to ensuring that customers can access the Internet content they want, when they want and how they want.
Herein lies the problem for us, the consumer. What Netflix and other services get charged to ensure their content is delivered at the fastest possible speeds could be passed down to us to pay. We already pay to have access to the internet itself, then pay these services for their content. Now we might have to pay more because the internet providers could hold content speeds for ransom.
Comcast could, in theory, then give it's own services greater treatment over Netflix because they own NBC/Universal and part of Hulu. There is also reports of not completed deal between Comcast and Apple for a box top service that would be offered through the cable company to it's customers.
The FCC claims all deals would be made fair as the internet providers would have to show proof of how they handle traffic, the charges to content providers, and if they gave special treatment to their own services.
Time will only tell what happens next. The FCC will vote on the new regulations later this year. This might be a time to write an email to your local congressmen and voice your displeasure. These new regulations would only put us further behind the rest of the world in internet service. Heck, we are 10th in internet speeds as it is.