The data transmission and integrity tools used by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband network to transmit broadband internet service can be used by any party that wants to do business with the agency, including companies that want to acquire data, the FCC’s chairman said Thursday.
The tools allow companies to buy or sell the data they need, and the agency can use them to ensure that broadband providers are providing the service customers want.
But they can also be abused by companies that are trying to gain competitive advantage.
“This is not a silver bullet,” said Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communication Commission.
“These tools are intended to be used in limited circumstances, and they’re intended to make sure the Internet is open to all and to provide the level of service consumers expect, not just some of the services that have been offered by the incumbent broadband companies.”
Pai has been pushing for a stronger, more open Internet and to eliminate net neutrality rules that have prevented ISPs from charging for faster internet access.
Net neutrality is an idea that says internet service providers should treat all traffic equally.
The FCC is currently considering new rules that would require ISPs to offer at least some broadband service, or the right to do so, but Pai has argued that net neutrality is unnecessary and unenforceable.
The commission is now working to finalize rules that it says will keep net neutrality principles in place, including net neutrality protections for the online advertising industry and for businesses.
But Pai’s plans have sparked protests and an ongoing lawsuit by Verizon, the nation’s largest internet service provider.
Pai has also proposed a $50-per-month Internet Access Program, or IPA, that would provide subsidies for internet service and broadband providers to help them expand.
The IPA would apply only to internet service, not to other internet services, such as email or video streaming.