Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler continues to insist that his latest proposal for regulating broadband won't destroy open Internet principles. But consumer advocates are urging Wheeler to move forward with reclassification now.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) says he is "deeply disappointed" that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is endorsing online "fast lanes" for companies willing to pay extra fees to Internet service providers. "Pay-to-play arrangements are inherently discriminatory and anticompetitive, and therefore should be prohibited as a matter of public policy," Franken says in a letter sent to Wheeler today. "They increase costs for consumers and give ISPs a disincentive to improve their broadband networks."
Two months after signing an interconnection deal with Comcast, online video provider Netflix forged a similar deal with Verizon. The arrangement presumably calls for Netflix to pay a fee to Verizon in exchange for interconnecting directly with the company's servers, which will ensure that Verizon subscribers are able to stream movies from Netflix relatively smoothly.
The Federal Communications Commission is trying very hard to convince people that allowing Internet service providers to create fast lanes isn't a betrayal of net neutrality principles. But broadband advocates say the proposal for fast-lane treatment will be disastrous for the open Internet.
Continuing its campaign against Comcast's merger with Time Warner, Netflix is telling the Senate that the deal will harm both consumers and competition. "The proposed merger will result in online video content providers paying higher prices for access to Comcast customers or delivering poorer service to customers who depend on Comcast for broadband access," Christopher Libertelli, vice president for global public policy at Netflix says in a letter to Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
In a move that has consumer advocates fuming, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler intends to propose new net neutrality regulations that will allow Internet service providers to charge Web companies extra for fast-lane treatment. While Wheeler's proposed rules would prohibit broadband providers from outright censoring sites, the regulations also would allow ISPs to give some companies -- like Netflix -- preferential treatment, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. That marks a dramatic departure from the 2010 neutrality rules, which prohibited all broadband providers from blocking or degrading content, and prohibited wireline -- …
The Supreme Court today didn't seem particularly concerned with the fate of Aereo, a startup backed by Barry Diller that allows people to stream over-the-air television to iPhones and other devices. But the justices appeared keenly aware that any ruling against Aereo could also pose a risk to cloud services like Dropbox. That's because the broadcasters contend that Aereo is "publicly performing" television shows when it streams them from its antenna farms to users' computers.
Lest there was any doubt, Netflix said Monday that it opposes Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable. "Comcast is already dominant enough to be able to capture unprecedented fees from transit providers and services such as Netflix," the company said in a letter to shareholders. "The combined company would possess even more anticompetitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers."
There's a reason why the cable industry is pushing data caps: Consumers with high-speed Web service are increasingly deciding to do without pricey cable television subscriptions. Experian Marketing Services says in a new report that nearly one in five (18%) of households with Netflix or Hulu, and high-speed broadband service, didn't pay for cable television last year.
Last September, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Google potentially violated the federal wiretap law by scanning Gmail messages in order to surround them with ads. Google argued that people consent to the scans by accepting the company's terms of service, but Koh said that the company's terms of service and privacy policies didn't make its practices clear. This week, Google tried again. The company's newest terms of service now state: "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. …