FCC votes in favour of new net neutrality rules

The FCC regulators yesterday proposed new net neutrality rules that may let ISPs charge companies for faster delivery of their traffic to users.

The US telecom regulators are proceeding with the controversial plan that critics say could spell the death of net neutrality.

The new plan could allow Internet Service Providers in the United States to charge a much higher fee for prioritised access to there broadband networks.

Net neutrality is the idea that US ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon should treat all internet traffic that comes through its servers equally.

With net neutrality huge streaming companies like Netflix or Pandora, or even search engine giants like Google will not get any priority over anything else on the net. So a small-time cooking blog could receive the same delivery of service as any of Google, Yahoo or Netflix.

The Federal Communication Commission has received unprecedented criticism in the US for its decision. Some are arguing the proposal will create a two-tiered internet, with a fast lane for those huge companies that are willing to pay for the prioritised access, and a slow lane for those who aren't prepared or can't afford to.

Five commissioners of the FCC voted three to two in favour of the new proposals, however they almost didn't reach a verdict after having their meeting interrupted by protestors who had to be physically removed.

The campaigners want the FCC to treat ISPs as utilities, the same way the water and electric providers are treated. They say this will allow them to be more heavily regulated.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler claims the new rules will preserve an open and free internet.

He said: "The consideration we are looking at today is not about whether the internet should be open but how and when we have rules in place to ensure an open internet."

Old net neutrality rules were thrown into limbo in January when a court battle found that the FCC didn't have any right to stop Verizon charging a higher fee for carrying traffic to its network.

The new rules could mean that broadband customers in the US see higher prices across all ISPs, also some say it will make the slow lane of the internet as poor as the 1990's dial-up internet connection.

Benefits of the proposals could possibly bring a much reliable and faster service when it comes to streaming and downloading content from the likes of Netflix.

The rules will now be open to public opinion, and the US public has until 15 July to make its views known.