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FCC says net neutrality plan is on a 'firm legal foundation'

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 6, 2015
No new taxes or rate reviews for ISPs are planned.

FCC officials also noted that the proposal applies to "last mile" Internet services that consumers typically see in their homes. The proposal would not apply future regulations to the Internet backbone and other major parts of the Internet, as some carriers have feared.

However, one area of the proposal that is sure to foster discussion is how the FCC would address so-called "interconnection" deals between companies like Netflix and broadband providers. In the past, Netflix has complained that some broadband providers selectively slowed down video traffic at points where Netflix connected to the Internet.

Senior FCC officials said companies like Netflix would be allowed to bring complaints and questions to the agency about the treatment they are getting from broadband providers. Few details were provided about how that process would work.

The FCC also noted that the proposal does not impose new tariffs or requirements on Internet providers to approve rates. Broadband providers would not have to contribute to the Universal Service Fund and the proposal does not "impose, suggest or authorize" any new taxes or fees, according to the fact sheet.

FCC officials said that in writing the proposal they didn't use all of the provisions in Title II. They called Wheeler's proposal a tailored approach that uses recommendations suggested in a U.S. appeals court decision from early 2014 that came out of a lawsuit brought against the FCC by Verizon Wireless.

While the exact wording of the Wheeler proposal will be distributed to the other four members of the FCC on Thursday, it will not be made public until the time of the vote on Feb. 26, an FCC official said. That has been the practice in the past and will continue, even though various groups have urged the agency to make public the draft of Wheeler's proposal well before the vote.

 

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