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Protestors repeatedly interrupted Thursday's Federal Communications Commission hearing on Open Internet- shouting their objections to the proposal that may allow broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast- to charge more for faster speed on the Internet - to companies like Netflix and Amazon.
"There is one Internet- not a fast Internet, not a slow Internet- one Internet. The attention that is being paid to this topic throughout the country here in this room is proof positive as to why the open and free exchange of information must be protected."
But he also presented the idea of allowing some "commercially reasonable" deals. Content companies could pay broadband providers to prioritize traffic on their networks- and that has come under fire from consumer groups and technology companies- who worry about fast lanes for companies who pay up- and slower traffic for the smaller guys.
As Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said during today’s meeting, there are no rules at all against Internet service providers blocking traffic or prioritizing some content over others. That’s because a federal appeals court this year overturned the FCC’s previous net neutrality order, issued in 2010.
While the FCC’s latest proposal doesn’t specifically authorize fast lanes, it didn’t have to: they’re already legal. ISPs can charge Web services like Netflix (“edge providers” in regulatory parlance) for a faster path to consumers over the last mile of the network because there aren’t any enforceable rules against it.
The important thing is that today’s proposal apparently doesn’t ban fast lanes.