Federal Communications Commission chair Julius Genachowski has a new plan for regulating broadband internet.
Genachowski’s proposal would prohibit internet providers (wired and wireless) from blocking legal uses of their infrastructure. However, the plan also gives providers an option for controlling how their services are used.
The proposal will allow broadband companies to impose usage-based pricing, charging customers higher prices if they make heavy use of data-rich applications like streaming movies. Users who use the Internet only to check e-mail, for example, could be charged lower prices for using less data.
The F.C.C. also will allow companies to experiment with the offering of so-called specialized services, providing separate highways outside the public Internet for specific uses like medical services or home security.
But companies will be required to justify why those services will not be provided over the open Internet and to demonstrate that their implementation does not detract from a company’s investment in the more widely used open Internet infrastructure.
Read on for more about how the plan would affect wired and wireless internet providers.
Why might an internet provider be concerned about heavy usage, specifically for streaming video? Listen to this NPR story about the Comcast, NBC and Netflix for the answer.