Mark your calendars and turn on your notifications, because we have a date set for the Federal Communications Commission's vote on their new proposal for Net neutrality. Earlier this week FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, publicly announced that the commission will be meeting on February 26 to cast votes on their remodeled proposal. According to the chairman, he plans to have the proposal available for commissioners by February 5.
Chairman Tom Wheeler was originally anticipating to have this complete back in December. However, in light of recent commentaries, if trends persist like they have in anything Net neutrality regulation-related, appeals in court may be in the near future.
Keeping these possible litigations in mind, the FCC has been working on a new proposal to regulate Net neutrality that is both relevant to their subjects, Internet service providers (ISPs), and safeguarded against possible rebuttals in court.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where Wheeler gave his announcement, the Chairman sparked some thought that the new proposal for Net neutrality will be more in line with President Obama's November proposition. The President argued to have regulations for broadband Internet falling under Title II of the Communications Act; which would treat the Net more like a utility. Inevitably, though, this would require the FCC to reclassify what ISPs are to make this regulation applicable. So, it is fair to say that this might be something else we see included in the new wording of the Net neutrality proposal on February 26.
Further, Wheeler explained that Internet fast lanes (one of the most controversial topics) are still being debated, but that charging content providers (i.e. Netflix) for prioritized gateways are not supported. According to the FCC, there may be some areas where fast lanes are appropriate. However, realistically speaking, the debate for exceptions may result in the dismissal of fast lanes altogether.
On a final important note, this upcoming proposal for Net neutrality will continue to abstain from regulating cost of broadband services and will only lightly regulate fast lane services offered to consumers.
This announcement comes after spokeswoman Kim Hart clarified that the FCC would be meeting on February 26 in light of a calculation made by the Washington Post earlier last week. Chairman Tom Wheeler had not yet spoken on the matter until this past Wednesday, January 7, at the CES conference.