Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stunning Victory Within Reach For Net Neutrality Advocates

[Next month,] the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to grant a major victory to net neutrality advocates... For months, the battle over net neutrality has centered on whether the FCC will reclassify consumer broadband Internet as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Reclassification would empower the FCC to block Internet service providers, or ISPs, from charging content providers like Netflix more for reliable Internet access -- thereby hampering, for example, a person's ability to quickly and affordably stream 'House of Cards.' (ISPs maintain that they won't create a second network for faster service.) FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has indicated that he supports Title II -- a proposal backed by President Barack Obama -- and it's widely believed that Wheeler will go that route. Republicans contend that such a move would qualify as government overreach, and they have introduced legislation that would essentially gut the agency's authority. That bill's fate is unclear, given that it's unpopular among many Democrats but still makes big net neutrality concessions that telecom and cable companies might not favor. Regardless, advocates say that Title II authority won't mean much unless the FCC creates enforceable rules and doesn't allow loopholes.


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