Poll: FCC to Announce "Net Neutrality" Today. You Want?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FCC is set to announce what amounts to "net neutrality" today, something that will make users and technology companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple's iTunes ecstatic, while roshambo'ing Big Telco right where it hurts.

Basically, net neutrality means data carriers like cable and DLS providers and wireless/mobile telephone companies can't restrict what travels over their lines or airwaves. Data is data. Disallow SlingPlayer or Skype? Sorry, not allowed.

It's not all good news for consumers, however, as carriers like the iPhone's AT&T are already buckling under the existing data load, and allowing bandwidth gulping apps like SlingPlayer could bring down more towers, faster. It could also cause Big Telco to respond by raising their rates.

Also, the proposal would only prevent networks from blocking legitimate websites and services, not those deemed illegitimate (i.e. torrent sites).

Of course, an FCC proposal is a long way from a new network order, and AT&T and other ISPs, as well as those who oppose government regulation on principle, will likely continue to oppose it.

Hit the poll above and let us know what you think.

[via Macworld]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Poll: FCC to Announce "Net Neutrality" Today. You Want?


Ezmac that's like saying we voted for the president so we should decide what he says and does. If you leave it up to the people. The fat lazy united states is always going to go with the easiest path of least resistance. I don't want my rates hiked or my service to get any worse. That's why there is a government and laws so people can't just do whatever they want. It would be a mess.

The haters of NN get this all wrong. They think that it will "crash" the networks...increase bills...etc. This is not the case at all, ISPs can still cap your usage, they just can't regulate your 1s and 0s based on content. Its comparable to an electric company telling you that you can only use their "brand" of light bulbs. I would tell them to shove it, and don't worry about what kind of light bulbs I use as long as I pay for the kilowatt hours used.
Also some some people say blame Obama. Did they forget that it was Bush's guy in charge of the FCC when they started investigations against Comcast and started a push to have formal NN rules?

Marc, even if it won't crash the networks, it still might cause an increase in rates. If everyone goes to the lowest minute plan and makes all their calls with skype, then the telco's might bump up the data rates in order to combat that.

I like my dumb pipe at home, and I'd like to have a dumb pipe to my phone. if this prevents some marketing whiz kid at AT&T thinking he can generate extra bux by cutting a biz-dev content exclusivity deal, because it is a more executive promotion friendly way to make money than actually improving the network - then I'm all for it.

I like this. I think that it will start to move to a better deal to consumers. GSM Carriers already have minutes and text=data, so I think eventually this will lead to say, a $120 unlimited data plan, instead of $X for data + $Y for Text + $Z for actual data.

As much as I dislike government involvement, I don't like telecom companies acting like North Korea either.

Remember non-Americans, a lot of the infrastructure we access on the web is based in the US and run to US laws. US Net Neutrality affects us just as much as it does US citizens.

Government intervention always makes things worse than they were before. Let the market do the work for itself. Don't get me wrong I hate Apple's insane App Store policies as much as anyone else but none of this constitutes letting the government intervene in the market. I don't want any company telling me what data I can or can use, but in regards to AT&T, I seriously believe that they have an interest in keeping the network afloat. If they want to keep SlingPlayer off the App Store to make sure network speeds are optimum for ALL their users, then I find that admirable. They obviously want to keep all their consumers happy and not just the small percentage of iPhone users that would download an app that consumes alot of data. But all government involvement would do is make the telcos and isps create new rates; the "limited unlimited data plans" and the "unlimited unlimited data plans".
In my area, there are 3 ISPs to choose from: Comcast, Cablevision, and Verizon FIOS. I chose Cablevision because they don't cap your data and don't really give a crap what your data is either. So if I end up having the same problem with AT&T, I'll go to another company that doesn't cap.
Its insane that we want the government to govern that the ISPs can't govern the service they provide. Most of the time ISPs are doing one of two things: stopping illegal downloads of copyrighted material and keeping the network infrastructure from crapping out and in my opinion neither of those reasons will ever justify letting the government step in.

Government intervention always makes things worse than they were before.

That's because We The People don't get involved with a government that belongs to us. We don't have a say in what markets do, but we would have a say in what government does if we cared enough. But too many Americans are too busy or too lazy to rise up, and would rather just leave it up to politicians to do as they choose and hope that they do what's best, rather than telling them what to do as our public "servants".
I agree with you that government is inept at many things, but that's our own fault, since we ARE our government (on paper, anyway).

The ignorance on this issue astounds me.
If the TelCos had used at least SOME of the money they made to build their network instead of maintain...we wouldn't be in this mess.
Let me give you an example. The Electric Company in New Orleans has been collecting payments for decades. They did nothing but MAINTAIN their infrastructure, they didn't improve it. Keep in mind they continued to raise rates over that time. Fast forward to 1999 and 2000 they could barely keep the power on. Why? Because they didn't improve the grid and equipment, they repaired it the cheapest way they could to keep profits up. So eventually they ended up charging huge ass RATE HIKES to improve the grid. I lived there, it was a nightly thing seeing transformers blow.
As New Orleans grew they didn't maintain or grow their grid. They lined their pockets and then ended up charging the consumer considerable rate hikes to make upgrades they should have made all along.
That is where we are with the TelCos..AT&T and the like. So screw them. I want my data and they better fix that dang network because they should have been doing it all along.

How come we Europeans do not have problems like this? You should stop and think about it a little, those of you who oppose the regulation.

@davit exactly. Everything is open. No one can hold customers hostage. Don't like a telco go by another sim card no need to buy a new phone and pay EFT fee.
Europe has surpasses us in mobile usage. I wonder why? Their telcos are doing well too.

@JA I can see your point, but this wouldn't work in to many other industries. I mean, with regards to AT&T data, comparing it to a restaurant, if they have an all-you-can-eat option, they will not tell everyone to ration so they can accomodate more people, they would just have to stop accepting guest. To me, this just sounds like that time in the 70s when they began to ration petrol in the US, not that I was there or anything.

This isn't government intervention.
This is just government telling PUBLIC providers that they must keep their hands out of your packets. (pun intentional).
By your definition, government outlawing theft is intervention. Government setting rules for what frequencies radio stations use is intervention. Cops enforcing speeding laws is intervention.
You characterize it as if the FCC was going to take over operations of your ISP for pete sake!!
This is simply restoring rights we have all come to expect on the internet: the freedom to do with our bandwidth what ever we want as long as we do not harm others or deny others their rights.
Without laws there is no free market.

This is an important issue and it's good to see that the new Chairman has moved to put Net Neutrality on the front burner of communications policy. His vision of an open Internet that preserves the "freedom to innovate without permission" is one that our organization, the Center for Democracy & Technology, shares; it's an idea we believe all Internet users and innovators should vigorously support. The move today to expand the basic Internet principles the agency laid out in 2005 to include nondiscrimination and transparency address two areas where we thought the original principles lacked.
Ideally, the launch of FCC proceedings would prompt Congress to take up the matter too. CDT has long said that FCC activity on Internet neutrality would benefit from clear congressional guidance, authorization, and limits, so that the FCC's task and regulatory authority are not open-ended. You can read more about our thoughts on this by looking the more inclusive comments we submitted to the FCC on its overall Broadband Plan. http://www.cdt.org/speech/20090608broadbandcomments.pdf

You are exactly correct. This has nothing to do with "crashing the towers" (a totally nonsense phrase designed to stir up FUD).
Limit data rates. Fine.
Limit total usage. Fine.
Limit types of usage. Not Fine.

The full text of the speech is here:
Key new points:
To date, the Federal Communications Commission has addressed these issues by announcing FOUR Internet principles that guide our case-by-case enforcement of the communications laws. These principles can be summarized as: Network operators cannot prevent users from accessing the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.
Today, I propose that the FCC adopt the existing principles as Commission rules, along with two additional principles:
The fifth principle is one of non-discrimination -- stating that broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications.
This means they cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks, or pick winners by favoring some content or applications over others in the connection to subscribers’ homes. Nor can they disfavor an Internet service just because it competes with a similar service offered by that broadband provider. The Internet must continue to allow users to decide what content and applications succeed.
The sixth principle is a transparency principle -- stating that providers of broadband Internet access must be transparent about their network management practices.
The Internet evolved through open standards. But new network management practices and technologies challenge this original understanding. Today, broadband providers have the technical ability to change how the Internet works for millions of users -- with profound consequences for those users.

About time. I got SL server and installed it at home. I'm running over Time Warner cable and use DynDNS as my DNS provider. The bummer was when I saw in the logs that yahoo rejected my emails since the network block was added to spamhaus.org. So I'm allowed to send and receive SMTP traffic, but what good is it if traffic from the whole network range is considered spam. I hope that these kind of problems is also addressed.

I unquestionably understand what you have said. Actually, I browsed throughout your various other posts and I think you happen to be totally correct. Great job with this particular site.