The Federal Communications Commission will soon consider a proposal that would grant the agency regulatory authority over the flow of Internet traffic between content providers and Internet service providers, the New York Times reports.
The so-called "hybrid" solution would establish a distinction between "wholesale" and "retail" transactions, and is the latest to gain traction among F.C.C. staff:
It would apply utility like regulation to the wholesale portion, the exchange of data from the content provider to the Internet service provider for passage through to the end consumer. The retail portion, the transaction that sends data through the Internet service provider to the consumer and which allows the consumer to access any legal content on the Internet, would receive a lighter regulatory touch.
The hybrid proposal has not yet been circulated by the chairman or his staff to the other four commissioners, according to people close to the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the still-fluid nature of the effort. It is one of four possibilities that the F.C.C. is considering as it seeks to draw up a net neutrality framework that, unlike its last two attempts, will hold up in court.
...[The hybrid approach] would allow the F.C.C. to enforce a rule against blocking of legal Internet content, to install restrictions on discrimination among Internet traffic and still provide some allowance for unique delivery arrangements for specialized services.
According to the NYT, a formal proposal could come as soon as next month. Consumer advocates are already pissed, calling the idea a "split the baby" approach, and likening the solution to Frankenstein's monster.