US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reportedly planning to suggest new rules that will allow ISPs to charge digital services for preferential treatment over the ‘last mile’ of their networks, to ensure smooth delivery of their content to customers. The Wall Street Journal claims that the FCC’s proposals will be unveiled today, which it suggests is an attempt to find a “middle ground” between ISPs deliberately slowing or blocking certain services, and the development of new business models based on partnerships. It’s a hugely controversial issue: on the one hand, companies like Netflix have come out publicly in favour of true net neutrality, while at the same time showing a willingness to sign up to these kinds of preferential partnerships with ISPs. New rules such as those seemingly about to be proposed may favour the biggest digital services – you can add streaming music into this, as well as YouTube/Vevo – as they’re more likely to be able to pay for preferential access than emerging startups.

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