Net Neutrality: Charter Now Plans To Charge Extra for Streaming

LOS ANGELES—Two years after the FCC repealed its own net neutrality rules, the major internet service provider Charter Communications — which operates under the brand name Spectrum — is petitioning for the right to charge extra for online streaming services. When Charter merged with Time Warner Cable in 2016, during the Barack Obama administration, net neutrality rules were in place, preventing ISPs from charging extra for any specific providers to transmit data through their networks. At that time, Charter agreed as a condition of its buyout of Time Warner that it would not charge “interconnection” fees — fees for a type of service designed to improve internet performance for certain types of bandwidth-heavy data.  Now, with net neutrality rules out of the way, Charter wants the FCC to eliminate those conditions from the merger agreement. The company made the request in a petition to the FCC last week, and the commission has now posted notice to seek public comment on whether Charter should be allowed to break the now-defunct net neutrality principle.  The company says that the move would be aimed at major video streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon — but online porn could also likely be hit with the new charges. Porn reportedly comprises about one third of all internet traffic, making porn sites obvious targets for the new fees. Charter in its 2016 letter to the FCC seeking the Time Warner merger, however, said that it had “long practiced net neutrality” and had been part of “no notable disputes over traffic management.” Even as it petitioned the FCC last week for permission to break the conditions of the merger, and net neutrality principles, the company claimed that it had no intention to actually do so. “Charter will weigh the options as we would any business decision, but is currently not even considering implementing data caps or charging for interconnection and has no plan to do so,” the company said in a statement to the site Ars Technica. “What Charter seeks is a level playing field so that we can continue to grow and provide superior service to our customers across the country.” In addition to the new fees on video streaming services, Charter is also asking for permission to impose data caps on its users — a practice that it also agreed to forgo when it merged with Time Warner. Photo By Charter Communications / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain 

written by: Lawrence Avery

source: Net Neutrality: Charter Now Plans To Charge Extra for Streaming | AVN