You know that if Internet service providers (ISPs) are not happy with this decision, it has to be a win for consumers. And it is just that.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled Wednesday his plan for an open Internet, ensuring that all legal content remains equally available to everyone, despite the grumblings of ISPs looking for additional revenue streams by providing faster avenues for some content providers who would pay for that privilege.
For now, the FCC’s proposal, addressing the issue of “net neutrality” can visit just about any website without being slowed, or “throttled”, or without being blocked entirely. Effectively, the FCC’s plan bans content providers from paying an ISP for faster service. Such a deal would slow traffic to other websites or content publishers.
“An open Internet allows consumers to access the legal content and applications that they choose online, without interference from their broadband network provider,” reads Wheeler’s proposal.”It fosters innovation and competition by ensuring that new products and services developed by entrepreneurs aren’t blocked or throttled by Internet service providers putting their own profits above the public interest.
Wheeler essentially supported President Obama’s position of applying decades-old communications rules to the Internet. Applying the so-called “Title II” authority toward new net neutrality rules would treat ISPs like public utilities. Title II refers to a section of the Communications Act of 1934.
“Using (the Title II) authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC,” Wheeler said. “These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.”
Consumer advocates praise the Title II option. “The Internet is the town hall of the 21st century; if we want our democracy to flourish, we must see that it remains open to everyone,” said Miles Rapoport, president of non-profit group Common Cause.
ISPs, however, criticized the FCC’s move. Verizon’s deputy general counsel Michael Glover said that “heavily regulating the Internet for the first time is unnecessary and counterproductive.”
In a blog post, AT&T vice president for federal regulatory Hank Hultquist, said the company will likely file a lawsuit if Title II is applied to the Internet. “Those who oppose efforts at compromise because they assume Title II rests on bulletproof legal theories are only deceiving themselves,” he wrote.