After his proposal to allow Internet companies to charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content was met with widespread criticism, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is trying to make the case that it is possible to have Internet fast lanes without slow lanes. He first did so in a letter to tech companies on Friday, and the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that he has also revised his approach to net-neutrality rules.
“I will not allow some companies to force Internet users into a slow lane so that others with special privileges can have superior service,” he wrote in response to a letter signed by many of Silicon Valley’s most prominent companies, including Google of Mountain View, Facebook of Menlo Park and Netflix of Los Gatos.
It’s clear that the fast-lane language has proven to be exceptionally bad branding, even among those who don’t necessarily support complete net neutrality.
“I worry when people use the phrase ‘fast lane,’ because that implies there’s a slow lane,”Michael O’Rielly, a Republican FCC commissioner opposed to tough net-neutrality rules, told C-SPAN recently.
So let the rebranding begin. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wheeler’s revised rules would call for tough oversight over broadband companies that might be tempted to engage in anticompetitive behavior. This doesn’t mean he’s abandoning the idea of allowing broadband providers to charge a premium for faster service. Instead, he will require that the fast lanes offered to one company must be offered to any company willing to pay the toll.
SOURCE: Joshua Brustein