“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,” reports The New York Times.
The story continues, “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.”
Writes the Huffington Post, “The FCC decision is a major loss for Verizon, the company that initially sued the FCC in 2011 over rules that were considerably weaker than the new regulations. The new rules are also likely to be challenged in court.
“Verizon denounced the decision in a press release issued shortly after the vote. Calling it ‘a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors,’ Michael E. Glover, Verizon senior vice president, public policy and government affairs, said the FCC ‘chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300-plus pages of broad and open-ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come.’”
re/code reports, “National Cable & Telecommunications Association chief Michael Powell [who is also a former FCC Commissioner, said] the FCC has ‘breathed new life into the decayed telephone regulatory model’ and it will mean ‘new taxes and increased costs’ for consumers, who will ‘likely wait longer for faster and more innovative networks since investment will slow in the face of bureaucratic oversight.’”
“Some conservatives have also blasted the rules, saying they represent an effort to ‘regulate the Internet’ by unelected officials at an agency not known for being particularly nimble. Congressional Republicans are already investigating whether the White House had undue influence over Wheeler’s late 2014 decision to push for stronger rules.
“Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai lamented it was ‘sad to witness the FCC’s unprecedented attempt’ to replace Internet freedom with government control. ‘We are flip-flopping for one reason and one reason only: President Obama told us to do so,’ he said. ‘The courts will ultimately decide this order’s fate.’”
The Huffington Post also reports that “Barbara van Schewick, a law professor at Stanford University and net neutrality expert, was optimistic that the rules would prevail in court, should they be challenged. ‘The agency’s decision to reclassify Internet service as a common carrier under Title II … puts the rules on a solid legal foundation,’ she said in a statement.”