The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines Thursday week to apply "public utility" style regulations to the Internet. This is a dramatic turn away from the more nuanced regulatory framework the FCC had been considering before President Obama asked the agency to flex its regulatory muscles under Title II of the Communications Act. There has to be a better way to achieve net neutrality than through Title II as life under Title II has been an extremely litigious one.
CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and TDS, three telcos that have a long heritage of serving Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, are taking diverging paths on what they think about the FCC's passing of new rules to reclassify broadband service under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act and Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
In yet another 3-2 vote across party lines, the FCC voted Thursday to override state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that restrict local governments from expanding the reach of their municipal broadband networks outside their jurisdiction.
Amidst a great protest within the agency and by large telcos like AT&T and Verizon, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed Open Internet order passed in a 3-2 vote this week. Now that the order has been approved, it's likely going to see a number of legal challenges from the largest carriers.
The wireless industry now faces a new regulatory regime thanks to the FCC's ruling yesterday to approve net neutrality guidelines. But of course the rules apply to all types of Internet content and all types of Internet players, from cable companies to online video providers.
Sprint and T-Mobile US seemed cautiously optimistic that the FCC's new net neutrality rules won't harm them and will protect the open Internet, while Verizon and AT&T were dismayed and characterized the FCC's action as misguided.
As reactions continue to mount following the FCC's landmark vote Thursday to codify regulation of Internet service providers as utilities, the anti-merger group Don't Comcast the Internet says the ruling is a step in the right direction. Still, it won't completely protect the public if the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is approved.
Under the FCC's newly approved net neutrality rules, wireless carriers and other ISPs will not have to go the agency and ask permission every time they want to introduce a new offering or mobile broadband plan, such as a new zero-rating plan, according to FCC officials.
Call it a cautious win for the online video industry: After a commission meeting marked by strenuous dissent from its Republican commissioners, the FCC voted 3-2 to adopt net neutrality rules that classify broadband as a service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
The FCC voted to pass new net neutrality rules for wireless and wireline networks that would bar blocking and throttling of content and ban carriers and ISPs from striking deals with content companies, a move that incumbent telcos AT&T and Verizon say will stifle innovation and drive up costs for consumers.