From Verizon suing the Government over the Open Internet Order, to proposed “Fast Lane” rules, to now. The FCC has been busy today. First, announcing it will preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina which were preventing community funded broadband efforts.
Second, approving rules which will reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier utility under Title II regulations. Thankfully, unlike the OIO, these new rules will also apply to mobile networks, not just wired ones. The vote was 3-2 in favor, on party lines with the Democrat majority winning the day.
“While I see no need for net neutrality rules, I am far more troubled by the dangerous course that the Commission is now charting on Title 2 and the consequences it will have for broadband investment, edge providers and consumers,”
-Republican FCC member Michael O’Rielly, who voted against the new rules.
We can also expect much crying and gnashing of teeth from the GOP in the House and Senate, with tired FUD and scare tactics, even though companies like Sprint have already pointed out that light touch regulation can be incredibly beneficial to a market as stagnant as our telecommunications industry. You would not have carriers like T-Mobile today, if the cell phone industry hadn’t been reclassified as Title II in the mid 1990’s. You can lead an elephant to water…
It’s a day many supporters of Net Neutrality thought we’d never see, and while there will still be a number of battles to fight over who regulates the internet, and what those actions should resemble, we can at least call today a victory for pretty much anyone who uses any kind of commerce or data driven service online.
The FCC has a five page write up, detailing the new rules.