Will pay-for-priority hurt competition, limit free speech?


So-called "net neutrality" rules have been hotly debated among policymakers, Internet providers and content companies such as Netflix. Without regulation, say consumer advocates, giant conglomerates —citing business or political reasons— could limit consumers from freely accessing certain types of content. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Federal Communication Commission on Thursday said it will release a new slate of rules for Internet activity that will give large companies the ability to pay higher fees to service providers in exchange for faster network speeds.

Informally dubbed "pay-for-priority,” the plan moves away from so-called “net neutrality,” a principal already struck down in federal court that dictates the Internet be open and no special treatment be given when it comes to access.

Critics have already panned the plan, saying the move will make it hard for smaller businesses to compete against large, lucrative companies. At the same time, concerns continue to be raised about how a priority system would affect free speech – really unfettered access to free speech – if priority can be bought.

The FCC, however, said critics shouldn’t jump to conclusions since the specifics of the agency’s proposal won’t be released to the public for several weeks. The agency did say that it will not allow any activity that hurts business or consumers.

So we ask you: Do you think pay-for-priority will hurt business competition, free speech or both? Or, on the other hand, is the FCC on the right track?

Let us know in the poll below.


Will pay-for-priority have negative effects?

Yes, it will make it hard for small business to compete Yes, it will limit the access to ideas Yes, it will hurt both competition and free speech No, none


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