Halloween Special: New Frankenstein Proposal That's Not Net Neutrality

Halloween came early to the FCC: Last night, word leaked that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s building a new Frankenstein proposal that’s not Net Neutrality (NOT Neutrality?).

Here’s the good news: According to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, the truly awful proposal the FCC released in May is dead.

Here’s the bad news: Now the agency is considering a convoluted plan with too many of the huge problems we’ve been protesting against all year.

Just how bad is it? This new proposal:

  • Would allow broadband providers to cut specialized deals with companies to reach Internet users.
  • Still gives us slow lanes and gives users no real protection against discrimination from Internet service providers.
  • Rests on shaky legal arguments that won’t stand up in court.

This isn’t what millions of us have been fighting for. And dressing up fake Net Neutrality in a new costume won't work.

We’ve seen this horror movie before: Too-clever lawyers try to avoid tough political choices with legal theories that wilt under scrutiny. The FCC tried this approach in 2005 and again in 2010 — and they lost in court both times. This new scheme won’t work any better.

According to the story, this new proposal would “separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end one, in which broadband providers serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content.”

That would divide the Internet in unprecedented ways — at best protecting only those who send information but not Internet users like you and me.

But there is only one Internet. And there’s only one way that’s sure to protect it: reclassifying users' Internet access under Title II of the Communications Act.

These new rules are being written at FCC headquarters right now, and a vote is expected in December. We need to move fast before the agency signs off on another ill-fated plan that Wheeler tries to pass off as a compromise.

The massive public outcry — from millions of people and hundreds of businesses and organizations — has already moved the FCC away from the worst plan. This is our best chance to make real Net Neutrality the only option. Tell the FCC: No Frankenstein Net Neutrality.