FCC Approves Net Neutrality
In a 3-2 vote today, the FCC passed net neutrality regulations that are designed to make sure Internet service providers treat all legal content equally. In case you’re wondering, Net neutrality basically means that all content should be able to flow through the internet at the same speed. So if richer companies are allowed to pay for faster access to customers, it’d give them an unfair advantage over smaller companies that may have a better product, and that all services online can compete at equal speeds. Good news for places like this and other sites such as Etsy and Netflix for example.
In a statement by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, he brought up the fact that the internet is “simply too important to be left with out rules and a referee on the field…It is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.” Naturally, these rules and regulations will also be placed by mobile data service for smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the F.C.C. is also taking this big regulatory step by reclassifying high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, as opposed to an information service, under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934. The Title II classification comes from the phone company era, treating service as a public utility. But obviously, we are long past 1934, and such changes should be necessary.
Of course, this isn’t the first time telecom companies such as Verizon and Comcast have tried to fight against this, (AT&T in particular has been vocal about it). There’s also some legal issues regarding the classification of Title II, which puts the life of net neutrality in jeopardy. Commissioner Michael O’Reilly, who’s one piece of the anti-net neutrality pie, has criticized the change in Title II, labeling it as “fauxbearance”: “I see no need for net neutrality rules. I am far more troubled the commission is charting for Title II.” He also believes it to be a “monumental and unlawful power grab.”
But for now, regardless of O’Reilly’s fighting words (and all the other basket cases that side with him), it looks the internet is in good hands… for at least a while.