The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved a plan to develop a set of regulations that will help prevent the telcos from modifying web pages, throttling applications’ transfers, “deprioritizing” packets from competing applications or servers, or other dirty tricks along those lines.
The ISPs, phone companies and cellphone carriers have been very vocal in their opposition, and have went so far as to encourage their employees to astroturf. As a result, there has been a lot of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (or FUD) spread about the issue. Some fear that the FCC wishes to impose a version of the old Fairness Doctrine on the internet, which couldn’t be further from the truth. (The regulations would prevent something like that, since they require that any and all lawful content be accessible without discrimination.)
Essentially, these are regulations to prevent regulation or ISP tampering. They’re to make sure that the ISPs stay as what they should be: indiscriminate carriers of unopened and untampered packages.
You can read more thorough explanations of what’s going on at Wired at PC Word:
Not long after the FCC made their decision, Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona) introduced a bill to Congress known as the Internet Freedom Act. It’s purpose is to “keep the FCC from enacting rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet content and applications.” Not only that, but it will essentially prevent the FCC from regulating anything related to the internet or cellphones. This coming from someone who has admitted to not knowing how to operate a computer.
This is an important issue, to everyone. The internet is a global thing, and allowing companies to tamper with the traffic passing through it is bad for everyone, no matter what country they’re from. It must remain neutral.
I would say that you shouldn’t believe the telcos or those who support their agenda, but I prefer not to try to make peoples’ opinions up for them. So I’ll say this: Use your head. Research the issue, find out what both sides have to say. Then make up your mind for your self. Are you for openness, or for giving the telcos free reign?