Decision On New Net Neutrality Rules Expected In February
After far-too-many years of waiting, it looks like the Federal Communications Commission is set to both propose and vote on net neutrality rules next month. According to a Washington Post source, FCC chief Tom Wheeler plans to circulate a draft internally sometime this month, hoping to iron out the last kinks to make sure that there are no issues with approval next month.
At this point, I think it'd be safe to remain a little cautious about what's to come. One reason is FCC's Tom Wheeler, someone who's become infamous for going against the grain of public interest in this matter. Plus, let's not forget, this is the agency that "lost" nearly three-quarters of a million net neutrality comments that came from people like you and me.
If we do have one glimmer of hope, it's that president Obama decided to weigh in on the issue in a big way in November, by writing a letter to the FCC encouraging it to begin treating the Internet as a Title II utility - in effect, to make sure it's treated with the same importance as our phone and power.
Debates about whether or not Title II classification for our Internet is a good thing have been going strong since that letter (and to a smaller degree well before that), but Google added some fuel to the fire earlier this week when it weighed in. According to the company, Title II would mean that it'd gain the same access to utility poles as established communications companies, allowing it to roll out its fiber service to more places without restrictions.
After president Obama's letter, Verizon spoke out about how Title II would cause "great harm" to an open Internet, but if Google's accurate here, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, I'd have to imagine that it'd be Verizon's pocketbook that'd experience that "great harm".
For better or for worse, things are about to get even more interesting.