In a party line vote Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved sweeping new rules that will regulate the Internet like a public utility.
The Hill reported Thursday the FCC voted 3-2 to reclassify the Internet as a utility from an information sharing service. The commission will now be able to exercise stronger authority over the Internet, regulating the service in a comparable manner to phone lines. Politico describes FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan:
Wheeler’s plan will prevent [Internet Service Providers] from blocking or degrading legal Internet traffic and bar them from cutting deals to charge companies for so-called Internet fast lanes. It applies net neutrality protections to both land-based and wireless Internet as well as to ‘interconnection’ points between networks deep inside the Web.
This covers Internet on smartphones and tablets as well, which had been exempt under previous rules.
“The commission’s decision to adopt President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet,” Ajit Pai said Thursday. Pai is one of two Republican commissioners serving on the FCC.
It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works. It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future of the online world.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excoriated the net neutrality proposal in a press release Thursday. “The growth of the Internet and the rapid adoption of mobile technology have been great American success stories. And they were made possible by a light regulatory touch,” McConnell said.
In fact, it’s this bipartisan ‘light touch’ consensus that allowed innovators to develop and sell the products people want – and to create the kind of high-quality jobs Americans need – without waiting around for government permission.
The Obama Administration needs to get beyond its 1930s rotary-telephone mindset and embrace the future. That means encouraging innovation, not suffocating it under the weight of an outdated bureaucracy and poorly named regulations like this one.
While companies like Google and Netflix support the FCC’s proposal, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T oppose it. The latter company has threatened to sue the commission, CNN reported earlier this month.
Advertisement - story continues below
Share this if you absolutely hate everything about net neutrality.