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FCC To Propose 'Net Neutrality' Rules


The Federal Communications Commission is looking at the subject of Network Neutrality. That's the issue of who controls, or at least influences in subtle ways, what you might see on the Internet. The FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is scheduled to make a closely watched speech on this topic today. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL: Net neutrality is basically what the Internet has now. When you go to visit a Web site it doesn't matter if it's Amazon or the little book shop around the corner, you will be able to navigate both sites with the same speed. But Internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast have expressed interest in charging companies if they want consumers to gain faster access to their Web sites. So Comcast could make a deal with Amazon that makes it a lot easier to visit Amazon's site, than say, ma and pa's book site. Or an ISP could make a deal with YouTube that makes it harder for a startup video site to compete against it.

In the past, Genachowski has expressed support for regulations that would prevent Internet service providers from creating this kind of tiered service.

Laura Sydell, NPR News.

INSKEEP: And Laura explains more about Net Neutrality. And you can find that explanation easily enough, for now, at Npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org.