It’s not often that a diverse group of people, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, can rejoice about stricter government regulations, but today was a wonderful example of government gone right. The fight for “Net Neutrality” came to its end today, with advocates celebrating the ruling made on Thursday by the FCC.
With the new vote, the FCC has agreed to enact stricter regulation on the ISP providers that connect you to the internet. Those ISPs (Internet Service Providers) which consist of wireless and landline services, will now be overseen by the FCC with the new ruling. Internet traffic-data information, supply, and other key factors in service will now be channeled through the FCC’s oversight committee. Thought the winning team will still have a long-road ahead of them.
The fight was simple and the goals were clear. The FCC can now prevent ISP companies from negotiating deals that would give preferential treatment to specific content providers. This stops companies like Comcast, from making a Netflix rival application, then purposefully slowing down Netflix traffic to your house, so that you would want to use the Comcast service. This is just one example, but the idea that ISP providers could manipulate the speed and connectivity of third-party apps and websites, was enough to demand change from the public.
Today the commission voted 3-2, with no help from the Republican party, and the measure past. Chairman Tom Wheeler (D), Mignon Clyburn(D), and Jessica Rosenworcel(D) voted for the regulation. Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly voted against the ruling. Although it is a win, the ISP companies are expected to appeal and take the regulators to court. It should be mentioned that the FCC has tried two-times in the past to ensure net-neutrality, but both have been thrown out by the court systems.
The big change comes from a reclassification, putting broadband Internet under Title II of the Communications Act. Electric companies are already under this classification, as are most utilities, but ISPs do have some freedoms that most utilities do not. For example, there won’t be any price-controls placed on the internet, and companies won’t have to share infrastructure with rivals.