Join us, dear readers, as we rejoice in the victory that was had today. The Federal Communications Commission voted today in regards to the regulation of broadband Internet services. In a vote of 3 to 2, the FCC has ruled that broadband Internet services will be considered a public utility for American consumers. This vote marks a major victory in the fight for net neutrality that has been a major topic of discussion for over ten years.
The new rules are meant to make sure that no content can be blocked and to abolish the possibilities of “pay-to-play fast lanes” for Internet and media companies that can afford it, thus creating “slow lanes” for the rest of us. The rules will also cover mobile data service for smartphones and tablets. The order makes sure to prioritize consumer privacy and ensures service is available for both those in remote areas and those with disabilities. Now, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, high-speed Internet service will be reclassified as a telecommunications service, and therefore treated as a public utility. The F.C.C. will not, however, get involved in matters of pricing the service or how companies manage their networks. Major internet companies, vocal start-ups, and many public interest groups are in support of this Title II method.
Opponents of these new rules, including the likes of cable television and telecommunications companies, fear the Title II approach will allow for future interference in regulations, thus hurting investor possibilities. They claim these issues will ultimately hurt consumers and plan to challenge the F.C.C. order in court.
For now, though, net neutrality supporters can celebrate this victory in equality through cyberspace. Let us know how you feel in the comments below.
UPDATE: President Obama thanked supporters of Net Neutrality on Reddit with a hand written note for readers of the site viewed as being pivotal in extolling the virtues of an open internet.