After a decade-long battle, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new rules to keep broadband Internet in the United States “Fair, Fast and Open.”
The Internet will be reclassified as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, which means broadband providers will be banned from creating so-called â€œfast lanesâ€ to block or slow down traffic online. Net neutrality principles state that Internet service providers (ISPs) should give consumers access to all contents and applications evenly, treating all Internet traffic equally.
It’s a red letter day for the Internet,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “Today history is being made.”
We have won on net neutralityâ€, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the Guardian.
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, applauded the FCCâ€™s decision to protect net neutrality. â€œMore than anything else, the action you take today will preserve the reality of a permission-less innovation that is the heart of the internet,” he said.
Broadband providers hit back, saying governments will take advantage of the new rules to control Internet content.
â€œTodayâ€™s decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors,â€ said Michael Glover, Verizonâ€™s senior vice-president for public policy and government affairs. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association said the rules would hurt â€œeveryday broadband usersâ€ by raising costs and reducing investment.
President Barack Obama praised the decision.
Today’s FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneursâ€“and it wouldn’t have happened without Americans like youâ€ said Obama.
However, the battle for control of the Internet isnâ€™t over. The White House and Senate intend to oppose the FCC â€˜s decision.