While the FCC’s draft proposal is ambitious in its scope and slots just fine with the Biden administration’s plans to offer fast and affordable broadband internet access across the country, the implementation would be anything but. A vote will be conducted next month ahead of taking public recommendations on the draft before the agency hard-codes the proposals into final rules. The FCC seeks to push ISPs under the aegis of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, giving it powers to legally prevent activities such as website blocking, routing traffic through faster or slower lanes to their own benefit, and skewing the flow of information on the internet.
“The internet needs to be open,” Rosenworcel said at a press conference, referring to the phenomenon of traffic manipulation, access slowdowns, and similar objectionable tactics. In an official press statement, the FCC chief also raised the issue of privacy, adding that the onus of protecting customer information falls on the telecom service providers. “These providers cannot sell your location data, among other sensitive information,” she claims, adding that broadband players shouldn’t be able to know about users’ whereabouts or hawk their data to train AI models.
Industry players, however, aren’t too happy with the proposal. “Treating broadband as a Title II utility is a dangerous and costly solution in search of a problem,” says Jonathan Spalter, President & CEO of USTelecom, pointing out that the future of an open internet hangs in the balance.