2015-02-27

Net Neutrality Victory, FCC Protects Innovators and Consumers


In the public meeting Thursday, Mr. Wheeler began his remarks by noting the flood of public comments. “We listened and we learned,” he said. (source infra)

In Net Neutrality Victory, F.C.C. Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility - NYTimes.com: "The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, a milestone in regulating high-speed Internet service into American homes.

Tom Wheeler, the commission chairman, said the F.C.C. was using “all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers” and preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles.”

The new rules, approved 3 to 2 along party lines, are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into pay-to-play fast lanes for Internet and media companies that can afford it and slow lanes for everyone else. Those prohibitions are hallmarks of the net neutrality concept.

Explaining the reason for the regulation, Mr. Wheeler, a Democrat, said that Internet access was “too important to let broadband providers be the ones making the rules.” Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets, in addition to wired lines, is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure that Internet service is available for people with disabilities and in remote areas.... Also at the Thursday meeting, the F.C.C. approved an order to pre-empt state laws that limit the build-out of municipal broadband Internet services. The order focuses on laws in two states, North Carolina and Tennessee, but it would create a policy framework for other states. About 21 states, by the F.C.C.’s count, have laws that restrict the activities of community broadband services.
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