Business Take: FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Good for ISPs, Bad for Streaming Content, Consumers

The Federal Communications Commission is voting later this month on rules that will have a major impact on Internet service providers like Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSK  ) , as well as streaming content companies including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) . 

In the first episode of Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week, host Jason Hellmann is joined by Fool contributor Daniel Kline. The two kick off the show with a discussion of the proposed net neutrality laws -- what net neutrality, and how the ruling might affect businesses and consumers. 

Dan opens the episode with a quick primer on net neutrality, explaining that it's the idea that every piece of content gets to travel over the Internet, with the ISPs having to provide equal access. Those rules changed in January, he explains, when the FCC lost a court ruling that makes it legal for ISPs to treat digital traffic differently.

That includes giving the ISPs the ability to charge companies like Netflix to guarantee quality access to the ISP's customers. That policy, which has resulted in paid deals between Netflix and both Comcast and Verizon  (NYSE: VZ  ) , is a quasi-law at the moment and the FCC will vote May 15 to make it official.

Hellmann probed Kline on the term "commercially reasonable," which is the cornerstone term of the new rules. Under the proposed rules, the ISP can charge for access deals as long as it offers the same deals to anyone willing to pay. The two discussed how this is a potential boon for Comcast and other ISPs and a drag on the streaming content companies.

At the end of the day, it's the end user -- the ISP and streaming content company provider -- who will most likely pay. Hellmann also asked Kline about the upcoming Neflix price increase and the two discussed how net neutrality rules factor in. 

Watch the video below, then it's your turn to weigh in using the comments box below. Do you agree with the FCC? Do you think the old complete net neutrality concept should be reinstated? Is this news really good for ISPs or is a backlash possible? 

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Daniel B. Kline

Daniel B. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for the Microsoft's Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the business desk. His latest book "Worst Ideas Ever" (Skyhorse) can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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