Net Neutrality Fight Isnt Over

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - 3:32pm

FCC approves new Internet traffic rules; courts and Congress may intervene.

There are new rules in store for the information highway.

The Federal Communication Commission has adopted an outline aimed at helping the internet flourish, while at the same time protecting consumers.

The rules will allow providers to manage networks and bandwidth applications by temporarily throttling back on some programs, but providers cannot block certain programs that would interfere with innovation.

Some experts say it's a start, but add the rules that don't go far enough.

"These rules, they will be a Band-aid on what is broken," says CNET.com's Natali Morris. "They are better than nothing but unfortunately they don't regulate the wireless carriers as well as they should."

The FCC vote has renewed a debate on whether the government should regulate the internet or take a hands-off approach.

Republican Speaker-designate John Boehner criticized the FCC's actions, saying it will stifle creation and destroy jobs.

Meanwhile President Obama says the FCC's vote will help preserve the free and open nature of the internet while encouraging innovation, protecting consumer choice and defending free speech.

It is still not clear how the rules will be enforced, but watchdog groups say the internet is changing so rapidly more protections are needed to make sure consumers have equal and fair access.

"It's become the marketplace of ideas of which all of us communicate over, which all of us have a stake in and shouldn't be controlled and leverage by handful of telecommunications giants," says Media Access Project president Tyrone Brown.

The new rules may end up being challenged in court before arriving in the virtual world.


 

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