updated 07:10 pm EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
New rules allow for paid faster access, prohibits blocking
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will circulate new "open" Internet regulations internally on Thursday. The new proposal will allow companies to pay Internet providers a fee for "special access" to customers and boosted speed of delivery of the paid content, on a "commercially reasonable" basis, paving the way for more deals like the one Comcast struck with Netflix. The FCC will determine what the terms will be on a case-by-case basis.
The proposal, hinted at in February after courts tossed the agency's previous net-neutrality rules, prohibits blocking websites or slowing access to those that don't pay for priority access. The new rules also reportedly stop short of declaring broadband access as a public utility, keeping additional federal regulation at bay.
In what is a positive move for consumers, the FCC will add to the reporting requirements for ISPs to more openly disclose actual speeds and traffic congestion on service it provides. Wireless service is exempt from the reporting requirement, however, rendering the move less meaningful to those who increasingly rely on mobile service.