Big Internet win goes with the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has passed a new set of rules on how Internet traffic is to be managed and regulated, after commissioners voted 3-2 in its favor. The crux of this vote, and the element that will prompt an immidiate and strong backlash from ISPs, is that a broadband is to be reclassified as a telecommunications service.
Many involed in this win, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, have spoken of their delight at the ruling, with the Woz himself calling it a win for “the average Joe.” Either way, this leaves it subject to much more regulation than it has hitherto been accustomed, and in no uncertain terms, takes a lot of the power out of their hands.
According to the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure “that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet.” The Open Internet Order helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways – and at different costs.
From now on in, broadband providers will not be able to block / speed up connections for a fee, and as such, won’t be able to make “paid prioritization” deals with purveyours of content. Deals that make ISPs quite a bit of money, since a provider can strike an agreement with, say, a Netflix or a Hulu to move their content more quickly, but as a result of the Net Neutrality rules, paid peering is out of the window.
Notably, the new policy would replace a prior version adopted in 2010 – but that was put on hold following a legal challenge by Verizon. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit ruled last year that the FCC didn’t have sufficiant regulatory power over broadband and ordered FCC can’t enforce Net Neutrality.
The ruling adds a number of other restrictions, including so-called interconnection deals, where content providers stump up a fee to broadband providers in order to connect to their networks. Although the FCC will not be enforcing some aspects of the rules, such as price controls.
These new rules does help to stem the tide but as you might imagine, ISPs are not too happy with the Wheeler decision. The US Telecommunications Industry Association has already noted that broadband providers will be taking swift legal action against the new rules.
However, this is a victory for the people and the consensus throughout the tech community is that it’s a win for the Internet in general. Allowing ISPs to govern how the Internet is run, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.