Despite a plea from one of its commissioners and much of the public to delay the decision, the FCC will forge ahead with its widely criticised plan for net neutrality — though the plan hardly seems neutral. Chairman Tom Wheeler explained the logic in a letter to over 150 tech companies, begging them to trust the agency to protect the Open Internet. The vote will take place on May 15.
The plan has been lambasted for allowing so-called “fast lanes” that would allow US internet companies to pay providers for better service. This not only defies a previous FCC plan that forbid the practice but also the hopes and wishes of pretty much everybody who cares about the future of the internet. In effect, the new rules could make it more difficult for start-ups to compete with big companies on an level playing field.
But Wheeler, a former lobbyist for big US telecom interests, tried to make it personal with a little story in his letter. “As an entrepreneur who started companies that offered new programs and services to cable companies, I was subject to being blocked from access to cable networks,” he wrote. “It is an experience that made me especially wary of the power of closed networks to innovate on their own agenda to the detriment of small entrepreneurs.”
Did it really, though, Tom? Did it really? Because it seems like you’re ignoring the wishes of your own colleagues and pushing a set of rules that many people think will bolster “the power of closed networks… to the detriment of small entrepreneurs.” That doesn’t seem wary at all. [The Hill]