FCC Fed Up, Will Investigate Online Streaming

Katie Frates Editor-in-chief of The Daily Walkthrough
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The Federal Communications Commission is putting Internet service providers and content providers in time-out.

The announcement followed recent squabbling between Netflix and Verizon in which Netflix showed customers messages blaming Verizon for poor streaming quality.

ISPs like Comcast and Verizon provide access to the Internet, whereas content providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon manage access to data on the Internet.

The FCC is collecting information from ISPs and content providers to understand “precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.

The FCC has received agreements between Comcast and Netflix and Verizon and Netflix to provide information, but is looking for agreements from additional providers, ABC News reports.

However, Wheeler clarified that the agency is only collecting information. “To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating,” Wheeler said in a statement on Friday. “We are looking under the hood. Consumers want transparency. They want answers. And so do I.”

Netflix and Verizon both provided statements welcoming the inquiry, Comcast did not respond to a request for comment.

“We welcome the FCC’s efforts to bring more transparency in this area. Americans deserve to get the speed and quality of Internet access they pay for.” a Netflix spokeswoman said in a statement to ABC.

“Internet traffic exchange has always been handled through commercial agreements. This has worked well for the Internet ecosystem and consumers. We are hopeful that policy makers will recognize this fact and that the Internet will continue to be the engine of growth of the global economy.” a Verizon spokesman told ABC.