Thanks to Cnet for this coverage! (image): www.zazzle.com
“It’s official. The Internet will now be regulated as a public utility.
After months of anticipation and weeks of frenzied last-minute lobbying on both sides of the political aisle, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted Net neutrality regulations based on a new definition of broadband that will let the government regulate Internet infrastructure as it could the old telephone network.
At the FCC’s monthly meeting Thursday the agency reinstated open Internet rules in a 3-2 vote split along party lines. The new rules replace regulations that had been thrown out by a federal court last year.
The new rules prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing down traffic on wired and wireless networks. They also ban Internet service providers from offering paid priority services that could allow them to charge content companies, such as Netflix, fees to access Internet “fast lanes” to reach customers more quickly when networks are congested.
The crux of the new rules is the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service under the 1934 Communications Act. Applying the Title II moniker to broadband has the potential to radically change how the Internet is governed, giving the FCC unprecedented authority. The provision originally gave the agency the power to set rates and enforce the “common carrier” principle, or the idea that every customer gets equal access to the network. Now this idea will be applied to broadband networks to prevent Internet service providers from favoring one bit of data over another.”