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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

FCC Passes Net Neutrality, With Dissent


The historic vote came down along party lines, 3-2 in favor of passing the controversial Net Neutrality bill, expanding the FCC's regulation of high-speed broadband providers, regulating them like a public utility. It's certainly the most high-profile ruling that the  Federal Communications Commission has overseen in recent memory, and ironically, viewed live online by Americans using the communications technology the FCC now has regulatory oversight of.

The Commission's meeting room was filled with activists, journalists, lawyers, and gawkers to hear the conclusion of a rule-making period that has lasted over a year, prompted by an appeals court ruling last year that tossed out earlier regulations. The Commission now reclassifies broadband Internet as a "telecommunications" service under its rules, this reverses an earlier policy that dates to 2002. The FCC will be able to exert more oversight over access to the Internet, in much the same way the Commission treats utility services like phone lines.

Dissenting Commissioner Ajit Pai made an impassioned plea against the bill. Pai remarked, "President Obama's plan to regulate the Internet is nothing more than a Kingsbury commitment for the digital age. If you liked the Ma Bell monopoly in the 20th century, you will love Pa broadband in the 21st." Pai went on to say, "I don't know whether this plan will be vacated by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. I do believe its days are numbered. And for all of these reasons, I dissent."

Chairman Tom Wheeler retorted in his closing remarks, "The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It's simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field." After all was said and done, the gavel was swung and the Commission passed the controversial bill, and now finds itself, for better or worse, as the referee of the Internet.

(2/27/2015 2:28:32 PM)
I'm guessing it is greedy Wall Street companies that never want a fair playing field that don't like it.
(2/26/2015 3:49:12 PM)
There goes yer porn, boys - and your absolute freedom of speech on the internet.

The internet is the only medium where free speech is practiced. Obviously, somebody doesn't like that - a lot!

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