The Federal Communications Commission recently adopted strong net neutrality rules that should prevent cable and phone companies from creating fast and slow lanes on the Internet. But policy makers in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe and India, are considering very different kinds of rules that could hurt consumers and start-up Internet businesses.
Last month, the European Council, which is made up of the 28 national governments of European Union members, adopted a proposal that would allow telecommunications companies to charge Internet businesses like Netflix and Google fees to deliver their videos and other content to users faster than could smaller companies that cannot afford to pay for preferential treatment.
In India, the country’s telecommunications regulator asked for comments on whether it should adopt a provision similar to what Europe is considering. The regulator also asked if telecom companies should be able to charge users extra fees for services like YouTube, WhatsApp and Skype on top of the fees people already pay for access to the Internet.
These proposals would hurt consumers because access to some services would cost more money. They would also hurt smaller Internet businesses that could not afford to pay fees to get preferential access. By contrast, the F.C.C. adopted rules in February that prohibits deals for better delivery and also forbids telecom companies from blocking or slowing down content.