The ink is barely dry on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules, and already we could have our first violator.
Commercial Network Services (CNS) has filed a formal complaint to the FCC that Time Warner Cable (TWC) is violating the “no paid prioritization” and “no throttling” aspects of the net neutrality rules by charging the streaming-video company unjust rates to deliver content to its customers.
“Paid prioritization” essentially means that Internet providers, like TWC, charge more to selectively speed up certain Web sites. The net neutrality rules—which went into effect June 10, 2015—specifically prohibit such behavior.
The FCC approved the historic rules in a 3-2 vote this past February. The rules reclassified the Internet as a “common carrier” under the Telecommunications Act, giving the FCC power to enforce consumer protections, preserve competition in the market, and ensure universal access to a free and open Internet. The FCC received a record-breaking 4 million consumer comments on the issue leading up to the vote.
The CNS case represents the first complaint that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) prioritized Internet content, and shows why it is so important that we have safeguards in place to preserve net neutrality.
Whether or not the FCC will rule in favor of CNS, however, is yet to be determined. The FCC’s rules only cover the so-called “last mile” between a consumer’s device and his Internet provider. The CNS/TWC disagreement, however, concerns a different interconnection point, so the FCC may yet rule in TWC’s favor.
One thing is for certain: we need to keep a close eye on ISPs to make sure they uphold the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Join CUB’s Action Network to receive more updates on this issue and how you can take action to protect the free and open Internet.