U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski recently previewed new Net neutrality rules designed to preserve the Web "as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression." Broadband providers wanted guarantees that the language used in the rules would not bar them from either managing their networks or charging different prices for different levels of service, while wireless service providers wanted the wireless networks to be excused from Net neutrality regulations. Both of these measures are opposed by consumer groups.
Genachowski's proposals would permit broadband providers to institute usage-based charges so that customers consuming greater bandwidth would get charged more than customers using less, and the FCC also will let providers experiment with offering specialized services over dedicated bandwidth that could supply higher-quality access to consumers.
In addition, the new rules would ban wired broadband providers "from blocking lawful content, applications, services, and the connection of nonharmful devices to the network." They also would be subject to transparency mandates as to how their networks are managed. The transparency requirement will be applicable to wireless service providers as well, which also will be banned from blocking or degrading most traffic.
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