The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.
The proposed changes would affect net neutrality — the idea that no providers of legal Internet content should face discrimination in providing offerings to consumers, and that users should have equal access to see any legal content they choose.
The proposal is coming three months after a federal appeals court struck down, for the second time, agency rules intended to guarantee a free and open Internet.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Wednesday that speculation that the FCC was “gutting the open Internet rule” is “flat out wrong.” He said the new rules will provide for net neutrality along the lines of the appeals court’s decision.
"Still, the regulations could radically reshape how Internet content is delivered to consumers," says The New York Times. "For example, if a gaming company cannot afford the fast track to players, customers could lose interest and its product could fail."
“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” says Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”