FCC Announces Proposal to Reclassify Internet as a Common Carrier

Yesterday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced the core points of the new proposals, which includes making Title II reclassification -- classifying the internet as a utility -- the new law of the land.


For more than a year, the FCC has struggled to put together a solution regarding Net Neutrality. Yesterday, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced the core points of the new proposals, which includes making Title II reclassification — classifying the internet as a common carrier like a phone service — the new law of the land.

Wheeler wrote in a post on Wired:

These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. 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.

These proposals are in line with the majority of the views submitted during the FCCs open comment period, and have met positive (if skeptical) responses from internet advocacy groups. These rules have the potential to do a lot more than just eliminate fast lanes and throttling.

A proposal relating to “reasonable network management” could stop ISPs from trying to skirt the law, and could enable a more free flow of information than previously considered. CNN Money cybersecurity reporter Jose Pagliery notes that file sharing sites could see their traffic flow freely.

Internet providers in the United States routinely throttle — or dial back — the speed of your connection if you’re caught using file-sharing services…Wheeler’s strict stance at the FCC would stop this. Companies can’t decide to throttle just because you’re sending or receiving certain content or using a specific type of software, service or device.

The FCC’s proposal also contains a section defining its legal authority to regulate ISPs under Title II, and provides a legal grounding to challenge any future court cases. Additionally, the document is full of statements indicating that the FCC will doggedly pursue any service that attempting to get around these regulations.

However, in its forbearance section the FCC makes it clear that these regulations will not place additional taxation or fees upon ISPs or consumers, and that the FCC is not instituting these regulations to stifle innovation.

Chairman Wheeler took a stand in his Wired post that the internet shall be free and open, and that protections for consumers will be coming shortly. This is indeed a victory in the fight for Net Neutrality, and provided the regulations pass an internal FCC vote on the 26th, the internet shall indeed remain free and open.

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