The top federal regulator who oversees rules that govern the Internet on Wednesday waded into the thorny issue of a service provider’s right to restrict content.Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler called for new protections for certain Internet services in order to shield them from being overcharged by larger services that offer user access.
If developed, the new rules would target so-called “edge providers,” services such as Hulu and Netflix. Viewership of Netflix’s popular original series “House of Cards” has skyrocketed since episodes from the second season became available last week.
Wheeler’s action follows an announcement last week by cable and home Internet giant Comcast Corp. that it will buy Time Warner Cable. It comes at a time when the number of hours Americans spend streaming video is up 70 percent since 2010, and streaming-video revenues reached more than $5 billion in 2012.
id=”cke_pastebin”>“It’s welcome news that the FCC won’t be sitting on its hands with regard to its obligations to keep the Internet open to creativity and entrepreneurship,” according to a statement from Casey Rae, the interim executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington for musicians.
id=”cke_pastebin”>But Craig Aaron, the president of Free Press, a national nonprofit group that pushes for changes in the media, said the FCC needed to act more decisively. He said the agency was “doing nothing at this point that would actually help Internet users when Internet service providers are blocking or slowing down online traffic.”
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