Net neutrality rules are shifting, but not the focus

Even as private parties line up--or don't line up, depending on who you believe--to try to establish some commercial ground rules for Internet access, the FCC plows ahead with its plans to somehow regulate an unregulated space using authority that the courts have indicated it doesn't have.

In a backdoor approach to the situation, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has reportedly met with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and hinted that a promise from the MSO to never slow certain types of Internet traffic might grease the skids for the long-anticipated acquisition of NBC Universal. Both parties, of course, said they're talking and neither confirmed this report, which appeared in the New York Post.

But it makes sense as the FCC fights back against private interests that would, much to Genachowski's dismay, charge more for better access to Internet Web sites. A deal doing just that was reportedly brokered--then denied--by Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) last week and the notion is not that outrageous for a generation raised on the idea that you need to pay more to get better service.

"I think the older generation is used to the idea that you pay for cable, you connect it to your TV and you sit down in the evening to eat your dinner and watch your shows; you watch the news and everything else," said Dan Udley, labeled as one of the "new generation of TV viewers" in a story in the Vancouver Sun.

Another Canadian couple, Alexandra Samuel and Rob Cottingham illustrate that they're willing to pay more to get more, buying Canadian cable as well as paying for a "U.S.-based server so they can access Hulu, paying a premium of more than $100 a month in addition to their cable bill "to be able to watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it," said Samuel.

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