Technology Stop 'Harmful 5G Fast Lanes', Legal Scholar Warns America's FCC

vtqhtr413

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Aug 17, 2017
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The FCC is set to vote on April 25 to restore its authority over the companies we pay to get online, and reinstate federal net neutrality protections that were jettisoned by the Trump administration in 2017. Net neutrality protections are supposed to ensure that we, not the internet service providers (ISPs) we pay to get online, get to decide what we do online.

The FCC released its draft rules early in April and there’s much to celebrate in them. Mobile carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon that have been degrading video quality for mobile users will have to stop. The FCC kept in place state neutrality protections like California’s net neutrality law, allowing for layers of enforcement. The FCC also made it harder for ISPs to evade net neutrality at the point where data enters their networks.

However, there’s a huge problem: the proposed rules make it possible for mobile ISPs to start picking applications and putting them in a fast lane - where they’ll perform better generally and much better if the network gets congested. T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon are all testing ways to create these 5G fast lanes for apps such as video conferencing, games, and video where the ISP chooses and controls what gets boosted.

They use a technical feature in 5G called network slicing, where part of their radio spectrum gets used as a special lane for the chosen app or apps, separated from the usual internet traffic. The FCC’s draft order opens the door to these fast lanes, so long as the app provider isn’t charged for them. That means we could soon see fast lane offerings like this:
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