The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday approved its strongest Net Neutrality Plan ever, setting new rules to keep broadband Internet in the United States "Fair, Fast and Open."
Net Neutrality is simply the Internet Freedom — Free and Open Internet. It is the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should give consumers access to all and every contents and applications on an equal basis, treating all Internet traffic equally.
NET NEUTRALITY WINS
The regulations were passed in a 3-2 vote by commissioners, with the chairman and two Democratic commissioners voting in favor and the two Republican commissioners voting against,saying they will dampen innovation and investment.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government, which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.
"It's a red letter day for the Internet," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler just prior to calling the vote. "Today history is being made."
KEY FEATURE OF NET NEUTRALITY
The new "net neutrality" rules apply to both home broadband connections and the wireless networks that power smartphones. Net Neutrality aims at :
- Banning providers of high-speed Internet access such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable from blocking or slowing Websites they don't like.
- Banning Internet providers from auctioning off faster traffic speeds to the highest bidders and slower speeds to other services.
The net neutrality rule approved today is an incredible victory in the history of Internet that wouldn't be possible by protests, Facebook posts, tweets, meetings with Congress and everything else online users have ever done in order to protect their Internet freedom.
BIG TECH ISN'T CELEBRATING
Net neutrality approved is a fantastic news and it's news we've been waiting years to hear, but many big tech companies aren't celebrating the big news, not at least publicly.
The most controversial part of the FCC's decision reclassifies fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service, with providers to be regulated as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, designed for the telephone industry back in the 1930s.
From now on, broadband services will be treated like a phone service, which is strictly regulated where Internet service providers are not allowed to do things such as prioritize a particular website's traffic to the damage the popularity of its competitors.
Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable heavily opposed the Title II decision. But Tom Wheeler believes Title II puts the FCC on stronger legal ground.
In 2010, the FCC passed net neutrality rules relying on some of its weaker authority, but a Verizon lawsuit in 2011 led to a judge largely overruling the rules.
PRESIDENT OBAMA APPLAUDED NET NEUTRALITY RULE
U.S. President Barack Obama is a strong supporter of net neutrality and, he personally thinks that the Internet should be left open and free so that the entrepreneurs can succeed. "You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed." President Obama said last year.
The FCC decision fulfills a promise made by President Obama stemming from his days on the campaign trail, when he announced in 2007, that if elected President, he will support for net neutrality to protect a free and open Internet.
A special thank-you message from the President for the FCC decision reads:
Today's FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs–and it wouldn't have happened without Americans like you.
More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC, overwhelmingly in support of a free and fair internet. Countless others spoke out on social media, petitioned their government, and stood up for what they believe.
I ran for office because I believed that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. That's the backbone of our democracy–and you've proven that this timeless principle is alive and well in our digital age.
So to all the people who participated in this conversation, I have a simple message: