Report: FCC to Remove "Fast Lanes" From Net Neutrality Proposal

It appears that the major public backlash in response to the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules hasn't fallen on deaf ears. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Tom Wheeler will in fact be revising his proposal (you know, again) to ensure that companies can't "segregate Web traffic into fast and slow lanes."

The previous set of rules had come under fire for allowing broadband providers to strike deals with content providers (i.e. Netflix, HBO, etc.) to ensure speedier download times for their users. A provision that would make it all but impossible for smaller companies unable to pay off providers to succeed—in other words, bad news for pretty much everyone.

Now, though, Wheeler is attempting to appease these concerns with new language. As an FCC official told the Wall Street Journal:

In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don't unfairly put nonpaying companies' content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.

What's more, the new draft will "invite comments" regarding broadband's status as a public utility. The FCC has yet to classify it as such, but if it did, broadband internet would fall into the same category as landlines, subjecting it significantly stronger regulations.

Whether or not the updated proposal actually does address the public's (entirely valid) concerns over internet fast lanes remains to be seen. But if the point regarding reclassifying broadband as a public utility proves to be true, at least we're sort of kind of finally moving in the right direction. [The Wall Street Journal]