WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission is proposing new rules that could mean faster access to online content, and a higher monthly bill.
Reports in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal say the new FCC rules would allow internet providers to sell a faster pathway into people's homes to content companies willing to pay for it.
Consumer advocates are attacking the proposal.
“If these rules go forward as proposed, internet service providers will be able to speed up and slow down consumer access to content based entirely on who can strike the best deal with them," said Common Cause program director Todd O'Boyle.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has called the reports “flat out wrong.” In a blog post, he said the new rules promote transparency.
Critics say a new pay-for-play arrangement will make it harder for smaller content companies to compete, and they say it will ultimately drive prices higher.
“If broadband providers are able to charge websites like Netflix and Facebook extra, those charges are going to get passed on to someone eventually," O'Boyle said.
In fact, Netflix says it plans to raise prices for subscribers after it struck a deal with the cable company Comcast to ensure more reliable video streaming service.
Earlier this year, Comcast announced a bid for our parent company, Time Warner Cable.
The FCC says it will release the proposal to the public in May, and there will be a time for the public to weigh in before it takes a final vote.