Ending lingering uncertainty about the future of the Internet, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission today passed historic rules to reclassify broadband Internet service as a public utility.
Supported by the high tech industry and consumer groups demanding “net neutrality,” the Open Internet Order prohibits ISPs from blocking, throttling or giving priority to one media company over another, even if that entity uses more bandwidth. It prevents a tiered Internet where content providers can pay for speedier access to customers and protects the consumer’s access to legal content no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop computer or a mobile device.
The rules were passed by a 3-2 vote along party lines. The commission chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, said that Internet access was “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.”
“These rules are guided by three principles: America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair and open—principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4 million commenters who participated in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding.”
Wheeler and his two colleagues believe the new rules are grounded in multiple sources of legal authority that will withstand the inevitable court challenges from companies such as Verizon.
(READ the news from the FCC here) – Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks (CC license)