Internet users in the United States were thrilled to learn today that the FCC decided to protect net neutrality and allow the free, uncensored internet to continue on. For months, web surfers were waiting with bated breath to learn if the organization would revoke net neutrality entirely, allowing internet service providers to charge for “internet fast lanes,” effectively granting them the right to discriminate with data however they want — potentially causing start-up websites to go extinct from higher costs.
But none of that should happen now, according to a statement given today by the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Wired shared the announcement, wherein Wheeler explained the FCC’s plan to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telcommunications Act. This effectively defines internet data as a utility, requiring that ISP’s treat all data exactly the same. They can’t charge more for some data or ban any other — in the same way that an electrical company can’t control how you use your power.
“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.”
Advocates of net neutrality were thrilled to hear Wheeler’s words in defense of an internet where all data is treated equally. Until today’s statement, supporters of net neutrality were not at all optimistic that it would be around much longer.
The CEO of Etsy, a vocal supporter of net neutrality, claimed that Congress didn’t understand how the internet worked. This was in response to the FCC’s announcement that they would make a decision on whether or not to change net neutrality several months ago, giving citizens the opportunity to present their case in favor of net neutrality and officials time to consider all the options.
Whatever the cause, something convinced the FCC to keep net neutrality intact.
One surprising part of the proposal, besides the protection of net neutrality, is the decision to combine wireless networks with wired broadband, according to the Verge.
“I propose to fully apply — for the first time ever — those bright-line rules to mobile broadband,” Wheeler went on.
“My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.”
Even more encouraging is Wheeler’s insistence that net neutrality stay safe for as long as the internet is running.
“The proposal I present to the commission will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future, for all Americans.”
Are you happy to hear that net neutrality has survived?
— Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) February 4, 2015