Why are internet service providers blocking traffic?
A new law passed in California that bans blocking or throttling internet traffic is setting off alarm bells among Internet service providers (ISPs).
The new law, which takes effect in two weeks, bans blocking of all types and also requires ISPs to block all “infringing websites” from being delivered to consumers.
The new measure is expected to drive up the price of internet and video services, especially in California, a key market for online video services like Netflix and YouTube.
But, despite the concerns about the new bill, the US Department of Commerce says the US is the only country in the world that still allows ISPs to restrict internet access, according to an article published by Bloomberg Businessweek.
The Department of Communications and Information Technology (CIS) said in a press release Monday that the bill is an important step in ensuring that the Internet is a platform for innovation and economic growth.
“It is important to note that the current rules are in place to protect consumers and promote economic growth,” the statement read.
“But they do not protect the open Internet.
We are confident that our new rule will provide a strong foundation for a vibrant Internet.”
The Department said the bill will prevent ISPs from blocking content and prevent throttling.
It also noted that ISPs can still block websites that violate terms of service, such as content that threatens their revenue streams.
“The FCC has the power to protect the free flow of information online,” said the statement.
“That power is why we’ve worked to protect and promote the open Web and the open communications and commerce that are essential to our economy.”
The new bill has been dubbed “Title II Internet.”
Under the new law ISPs will be required to provide customers with a choice to connect to an open Internet, but those customers won’t be able to choose whether to use a slower speed.
It will also block “infringeing websites,” including content that harms or violates a user’s rights.
But the move to block content that isn’t infringing is likely to be controversial among some in the industry, who have complained that the new rules would allow internet service to be controlled by internet companies.
According to a recent report by Pew Research Center, the internet companies that are the most influential in the US have been among those who have lobbied to oppose the new measures.
The Internet Association, a trade group for the Internet companies, said in the report that it is “disappointed” that the FCC is attempting to “restrict the freedom of speech, innovation, and commerce on the open web.”
The Internet Alliance, a lobbying group representing more than 100 Internet companies and technology companies, also said that it’s “disappointing that this regulatory approach is in conflict with the net neutrality principles that underlie the open internet.”