Members of the Federal Communications Commission announced today that they are thinking about putting in place regulations which would discourage Internet providers from selectively slowing down data from sites and services that use a lot of bandwidth, according to The New York Times.
This process, known as “throttling” has been the subject of controversy recently as Comcast was outed as utilizing the method against the file-sharing client BitTorrent. While Comcast has stated it will only do this to sites and services demanding “excessive” traffic during peak hours – and only on uploads – the FCC is worried about the transparency and ramifications of such actions.
“While networks may have reasonable practices, they obviously cannot operate without taking some reasonable steps but that does not mean they can arbitrarily block access to certain services,” FCC chairman Kevin Martin stated.
Aside from BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer software applications, many worry that going forward such “throttling” could take place on more bandwidth intensive Internet sites such as YouTube. This strikes to the heart of the Net Neutrality debate which calls for the Internet to remain free from bandwidth restrictions of any kind.