The FCC voted to adopt Internet traffic rules today, banning Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against traffic on their networks. But, the new rules also allow high-speed Internet providers to charge customers according to their level of usage and would give wireless carriers additional control.
Internet providers: winners
Say goodbye to your cable bill as you know it and hello to higher rates. Cable companies will be able to charge based on usage. So thinking of streaming that movie through Hulu or Netflix? Now these guys can charge more based on the bandwidth load to stream content.
Wireless carriers: winners
Wireless carriers get more flexibility under the news rules, which address the tighter bandwidth-constraints mobile broadband faces. They will be subject to a looser version of the no-blocking policy, which only bans the blocking of websites and competing voice and video services.
Content Providers: losers
Video content providers may lose some of the competitive edge they were building over cable companies if downloading content becomes more expensive under usage-based pricing.
FCC: mixed bag
The rules have drawn critical attention from Republican lawmakers who will control the U.S. House of Representatives come January. We probably haven’t heard the last of this.
The public: ?
Public interest groups Free Press, Public Knowledge and the Media Access Project all complained rules would give Internet providers too much power over users. But some industry analysts say the rules will prevent congestion and allow companies to make sufficient money to invest in upgrading their networks.
Help us fill in the blank. Tell us why we, users of the Internets, are collectively winners, losers or a mixed bag when it comes to the FCC’s change in rules.