After Net Neutrality, Brace for Internet 'Fast Lanes' - NBC4 Washington
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After Net Neutrality, Brace for Internet 'Fast Lanes'

Among Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Sprint and T-Mobile, none would rule out the possibility of establishing fast and slow lanes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Net Neutrality: What It Is and Why It Matters

    The FCC dismantled rules requiring internet service providers to ensure consumers have equal access to all online content.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017)

    Now that federal telecom regulators have repealed net neutrality, it may be time to brace for the arrival of internet "fast lanes" and "slow lanes."

    The net neutrality rules just voted down by the Federal Communications Commission prohibited such "paid prioritization," as it's technically known. That's when an internet provider such as Verizon or Comcast decides to charge services like YouTube or Amazon for faster access to users. Firms that decline to pay up could wind up in bumper-to-bumper slow lanes.

    The Associated Press queried seven major internet providers about their post-net-neutrality plans, and all of them equivocated when asked if they might establish fast and slow lanes. None of the seven companies — Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Sprint and T-Mobile — would rule out the possibility. Three said they had "no plans" for paid prioritization, and a few declined to answer the question at all.

    By contrast, several of these firms promised not to block or slow down specific internet sites and services, two other practices prohibited by the expiring net-neutrality rules. (Those rules won't formally end until sometime in early 2018.) Any such move could set off a public uproar and might even trigger an antitrust investigation.

    Protestors Rally for Net Neutrality in LA

    [NATL-LA] Protesters Rally in Favor of Keeping Net Neutrality Rules

    Protesters gathered in Westwood in a bid to save net neutrality, which is the idea that everyone should have equal access to the internet. The head of the Federal Communications Commission has indicated his plan to repeal net neutrality rules. Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017.

    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017)

    Here are the net-neutrality promises from the country's biggest wireless and cable companies.

    VERIZON
    — FAST LANES: No specific response

    — BLOCK OR SLOW DOWN SITES: Says it doesn't do so, but declined to address the future

    THE WORDS: In a Nov. 21 statement , Verizon senior vice president Kathy Grillo said: "We continue to believe that users should be able to access the internet when, where, and how they choose, and our customers will continue to do so." Asked whether Verizon will continue not to block or throttle content or whether it will charge internet companies to get better access to customers, Young said Verizon "does not block or throttle content and that's the bottom line."

    AT&T
    — FAST LANES: No specific response

    — BLOCK OR SLOW SITES: Says it "will not" do so

    Colorado Man Charged With Five Counts of Murder in Deaths of Wife and Daughters

    [NATL] Colorado Man Charged With Five Counts of Murder in Deaths of Wife and Daughters

    Christopher Lee Watts was charged with five counts of murder Monday for the deaths of his wife Shanann Watts and their two daughters Bella and Celeste. Watts had initially pleaded publicly that his wife and daughters had gone missing. Their bodies were discovered on the property of the oil and natural gas company Watts worked for. The D.A. said that it's "too early" to discuss whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 20, 2018)

    THE WORDS: Spokesman Mike Balmoris didn't specifically answer when asked if AT&T will create fast lanes. In a Nov. 30 blog post , AT&T senior executive vice president Bob Quinn said: "We will not block websites, we will not throttle or degrade internet traffic based on content, and we will not unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic."

    COMCAST
    — FAST LANES: Has "no plans" to create them

    — BLOCK OR SLOW SITES: Says it "will not" do so

    THE WORDS: In a Dec. 14 blog post , senior executive vice president David Cohen said: "We will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content on the Internet; we will be fully transparent with respect to our practices; and we have not entered into any paid prioritization arrangements, and we have no plans to do so."

    CHARTER
    — FAST LANES: Says there are no plans to create them

    — BLOCK OR SLOW DOWN SITES: Says it doesn't do so and has "no plans" to change that

    Father, Son Escape Raging Wildfire at Glacier National Park

    [NATL] Father, Son Escape Raging Wildfire at Glacier National Park

    The campers had to drive through the Howe Ridge Fire after it quickly expanded.

    (Published Monday, Aug. 20, 2018)

    THE WORDS: In a Dec. 14 blog post : "We don't slow down, block, or discriminate against lawful content. Simply put, we don't interfere with the lawful online practices of our customers and we have no plans to change our practices."

    COX
    — FAST LANES: Does not plan to create them

    — BLOCK OR SLOW DOWN SITES: Says it doesn't do so and has no plans to

    THE WORDS: In an emailed statement on Dec. 14: "We do not block, throttle or otherwise interfere with consumers' desire to go where they want on the Internet." A spokesman said the company has no plans to block or throttle content or enter into paid prioritization agreements.

    SPRINT
    — FAST LANES: No specific response

    — BLOCK OR SLOW DOWN SITES: Says it doesn't block sites, but didn't answer questions about the future

    THE WORDS: In a press release on Dec. 14, Sprint wrote: "Our position has been and continues to be that competition is the best way to promote an open internet."

    From its "open internet" website : "Sprint does not block sites based on content or subject."

    T-MOBILE
    — FAST LANES: No response about future plans

    — BLOCK OR SLOW DOWN SITES: No response about future plans

    THE WORDS: A company spokeswoman pointed to a February 2015 statement from T-Mobile CEO John Legere: "We have always believed in competition and in a free, open Internet with rules that protect net neutrality — no blocking, no discrimination and transparency."


    Video Shows Officer Rescue Woman From Fiery Ala. Home

    [NATL-MI] Video: Dramatic Rescue From Fiery Alabama Home

    The Oneonta Police Department in Alabama this week released body camera footage of a rescue from a burning building on July 3. Two officers saved two people from the structure fire, according to police.

    (Published Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018)

    This story has been corrected to show that three companies, not most, say they have no plans for paid-prioritization agreements.

    Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which owns this television station.