With the Federal Communications Commissioon expected to finally tackle net neutrality tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, here’s what to expect regarding Internet traffic rules.
"The rules would ban high-speed Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications from blocking lawful traffic, but are expected to acknowledge their need to manage network congestion and possibly charge consumers based on Internet usage. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski’s plan will likely attract the grudging support of his two fellow Democrats, analysts say, overcoming opposition from the agency’s two Republicans."
So writes Reuters. The article continues, "The Republican commissioners have said they prefer that Internet traffic remain free of regulation. ‘But I still think it’s more likely that they will work something out,’ said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus and a former division chief at the FCC. Internet providers say they should be free to manage their networks for the benefit of all users, but content providers fear disruption of access and anti-competitive behavior."
Equally fascinating is all the lobbying that’s gone on about the rulemaking.
"Over the past three years, more than 150 organizations hired at least 118 outside lobbying groups to influence the outcome of the vote currently scheduled for the commission’s open meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 21, a Capital Business analysis of congressional lobbying records shows," Amanda Becker at The Washington Post writes.
After detailing some of the lobbying efforts, Becker writes, "The work of these firms and others was crucial to Genachowski’s recent indication that his proposal will ultimately include a usage-based pricing provision that grants Internet service providers ‘meaningful flexibility’ to manage their networks–a victory for ISPs. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable have collectively employed more than 60 firms for net neutrality-related work, including shops such as Capitol Solutions, Crossroads Strategies, Ogilvy Government Relations and Quinn, Gillespie & Associates."