The internet is a network, not a network of individuals, and ISPs like Comcast aren’t allowed to favor some users over others, so the Federal Communications Commission has stepped in and forced ISPs to treat all customers equally.
In a press release announcing the new rule, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that “broadband access is not equal” because “no one can afford the high prices, and so the marketplaces are being abused to favor certain businesses at the expense of others.”
Pai added that this practice has become the “new normal” for ISPs.
In order to meet the commission’s new policy, ISPs are required to provide “commercially reasonable” access to internet users, which means providing broadband access for the same speeds as an ISP’s competitor, in order to compete on price and quality.
The new rule will require ISPs to “offer comparable broadband services to all consumers, regardless of service provider.”
If you are not a Comcast customer, you may have noticed a major change in your cable bill in 2017.
Comcast was the first ISP to begin offering internet access to all Americans, and now, the company has expanded to other major US markets.
In January 2018, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced a joint deal that will bring internet access services to more than 100 million US households, including all Americans under age 18.
The FCC is also expected to announce plans to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order, which required internet service providers to provide a broadband internet connection for all Americans to access all of the internet’s content.