The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted for net neutrality today, putting forth pretty to protect the internet as we know it in a bid to make it remain “fast, fair and open.”
The 3-to-2 vote opened up the path for the FCC to create the Open Internet Order, which effectively replaces their Open Internet regulations from 2010, which got thrown to the wayside last January. This created a dangerous precedence where the court determined that net neutrality is an important topic, although they deemed the FCC did not have the legal means or power to regulate the internet.
“Great online video game experiences depend upon low latency, high bandwidth connections,” the ESA said in a statement. “We hope that the rule announced today by the FCC will promote continued development of fast online connections while protecting gamers from anti-competitive and discriminatory practices.”
President Barack Obama himself has been an advocate of net neutrality, issuing a statement last November, saying the FCC needed to implement these kinds of regulations. He provided a statement today in celebration of the millions of Americans who let their voices be heard:
“Today’s FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs — and it wouldn’t have happened without Americans like you.”
The Open Internet Order puts into effect three rules to protect net neutrality:
- No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
- No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
- No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.
“For over a decade, the Commission has endeavored to protect and promote the open Internet,” said Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, said in a statement. “Today is the culmination of that effort, as we adopt the strongest possible open Internet protections.”
This new order gives the FCC the ability to investigate the complains between internet service providers and other services, like the debacle between Netflix and companies like Verizon and Comcast. The FCC is also now applying the new rules to mobile broadband for the very first time.
Finally, the new order also specifies that internet service providers can not “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” the ability of internet-goers and regular internet subscribers from being able to use the internet to access content and services of their choosing – providing the content is legal to consume, of course. The only exemption provided here is “reasonable network management,” but this is definitely not a business-related situation.