U.S. companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached Friday. The FCC will continue collecting comments, made in response to these first submissions, until Sept. 10 as it weighs how best to regulate the way Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic crossing their networks. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules in April. The FCC's draft rules propose banning ISPs from blocking users' access to websites or applications but allowing some "commercially reasonable" deals between content providers and ISPs to prioritize delivery of some web traffic. Though Wheeler has insisted the FCC would carefully guard against abuse of the rules to hurt competition or consumers, the proposal drew ire from public interest groups and large web companies that say it would result in faster download speeds for some content at the expense of other content, which would inevitably be relegated to "slow lanes."
First published July 18 2014, 10:49 AM