AT&T proposes new form of net neutrality to FCC

In the past few days, new proposals have arisen to break the logjam over net neutrality. And they’ve come from widely different sources, but yet have gained the attention of companies and Internet-rights groups.

The first came from one of the nation’s biggest Internet providers. In a meeting with the FCC, an AT&T official “laid out a plan that would allow individual consumers to ask that some applications, such as Netflix, receive priority treatment over other services, such as e-mail or online video games.”

In other words, it’s the subscriber, not the ISP which chooses what to fast-track. This proposal is more consumer-friendly than the FCC’s last proposal, which gives choice just to companies, not consumers.

Then, a similar idea was floated at a webcast FCC roundtable Tuesday. Professor Barbara van Schewick of Stanford University proposed “letting Internet users individually control which Web sites were delivered at a faster or slower speed by their ISP would not violate the principle of net neutrality.”

According to The Washington Post, “Customers should be able to choose whether to enable prioritization, said van Schewick. And only consumers who opt in, not content companies, should have to pay for that extra layer of service, she said.”

In addition, Chairman Wheeler has indicated that the net neutrality rules emerge from this process probably should apply equally to wireline and wireless carriers, with an understanding that there would be different approaches to what is considered “reasonable network management” on wired and wireless networks.

The FCC already has to deal with millions of comments submitted in the wake of its own net neutrality proposals. However, coming from a major corporation and a participant on its own roundtable, these two may gain traction.

Speed Matters continues to support FCC action to protect an open Internet: no blocking, no commercially unreasonable discrimination, and full transparency.

AT&T’s fascinating third-way proposal on net neutrality (Washington Post, Sep. 15, 2014)

Momentum is building for a net neutrality compromise
(Washington Post, Sep. 16, 2014)