FCC reportedly close to reclassifying ISPs as common carriers

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking to the cable industry in April 2014.

The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reportedly close to proposing a "hybrid approach" to network neutrality in which Internet service providers would be partially reclassified as common carriers, letting the commission take a harder stance against Internet fast lane deals.

However, the proposal would not completely outlaw deals in which Web services pay for faster access to consumers.

As reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal, the broadband service that ISPs offer to consumers would be maintained as a lightly regulated information service. But the FCC would reclassify the service that ISPs offer at the other end of the network to content providers who deliver data over Internet providers' pipes. This would be a common carrier service subject to utility-style regulation under Title II of the Communications Act.

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro: Wireless headphones you’ll actually want to use

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Anyone who's ever been to a tech expo such as IFA, where Plantronics first showed its BackBeat Pros, knows that the headphone market is an extremely crowded space. Choices abound: Prosumer and high-end headphones from companies such as Sennheiser, all-around, stylish cans like the ones from Beats Audio, and in-ear headphones which come in a zillion flavors

But there's one space in the world of headphones that's not quite overpopulated yet — the Bluetooth, wireless, noise-canceling, over-the-ear headphones. It sounds like a tiny niche, but actually these are the headphones most of us need: Travel-friendly, practical, and potentially great-sounding. Most, however, fail in at least one of those categories, and they're pretty expensive Read more...

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Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3: Sleek, slim, fully metal (hands-on) (Jessica Dolcourt/CNET)

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET:
Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3: Sleek, slim, fully metal (hands-on)  —  Side by side on a table, the two nearly identical rectangular handsets look innocuous enough and extremely familiar.  Yet two things quietly make the Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5 stand out: their all-aluminum material and their unibody construction.