September 16, 2014
As the FCC considers eliminating net neutrality for internet service providers, it turns out that the decision may also affect your mobile internet experience.
Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, says wireless carriers could soon be required to follow new rules regarding content on their networks.
More specifically, they would be allowed to give special treatment – in the form of faster speeds – to content companies who can afford to pay for superior access to consumers. And while similar rulings in the past have protected wireless networks from these decisions, Wheeler now states that mobile usage is becoming too prevalent to ignore.
Thanks to recent surges in mobile data usage and the continued deployment of new wireless networks (think substantial growth in 4G, as well as the current state of LTE and carriers launching VoLTE networks), he may have a point.
It’s no secret that more and more U.S. consumers are using smart devices to access the internet every day.
Net neutrality refers to the idea that online content and applications should be equally accessible, meaning that no websites or online services should be faster or slower as a result of special deals with internet service providers.
It’s been a hot topic for months now, especially once the American public realized the direct ramifications to its everyday internet usage. This summer alone, proponents of net neutrality voiced their complaints in the form of 1.2 million-plus comments on the FCC website, demanding that the FCC protect net neutrality by banning special deals.*
It basically boils down to this: should the FCC allow internet service providers to favor or block certain websites or online services, based on special deals with content companies?
According to Wheeler, a decision has yet to be made regarding net neutrality for both internet service providers and wireless networks.
* Nagesh, Gautham. FCC Chairman: Broadband Rules Could Cover Wireless Networks, The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc.