In a stunning and exciting win for the open internet, the FCC has officially votes in favor of Net Neutrality, imposing restrictions on both government and corporate agencies in how they supply and run the web.
For years, the battle has raged on. ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon have gained further control in the industry, lobbying billions of dollars as they enforce shady policies and actions like throttling on consumers.
Now, those consumers have the protection they have been calling for. After gaining support from everybody from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to President Barack Obama, Net Neutrality has passed with a close vote of 3 to 2.
The internet will be reclassified under the banner of Title II, named a public utility and protected from plans for tiered service. Essentially, we no longer have to worry about ISPs using financial incentives to screw over users to maximize profits. It also puts an end to blocking websites, applications and services, a practice that has been noted for years.
Working with a panel, Tom Wheeler made several changes to the initial plan that had a fair amount of ambiguous language. Whether this was intentional or accidental, it would have paved the way for loopholes taken by corporations to continue with bad practices and exploit their customers even under the new regulations.
After urging from Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and her office, Wheeler made several adaptions to less vague language, providing a stricter line that would be harder to wriggle past. She, one of the biggest proponents for Net Neutrality and arguing for Title II classification for more than five years, announced that she was satisfied with the changes, and that they had made the regulations stronger.
Not everyone is happy, however. Republicans were mostly opposed to the measure, and the two votes against both came from the Right. Michael O’Rielly and Ajut Pai both spoke out against the decision, saying it was an overstepping of government bounds and regulating “a problem that didn’t exist”.
I have to be honest here, it is hard to take them seriously when they claim that there is no issue to even consider. Allowing uncontrolled greed to run rampant? Apparently fine. Accepting arbitrary throttling of consumers paying money for a service due to “up to” language in contracts? Perfectly acceptable. Limiting access to websites, applications and services that threaten profit margins or are otherwise disagreed with? Totally cool. Creating a tiered internet that gives preference to the highest bidder? Just capitalism in the works!
Please, if these guys honestly don’t think there is a problem, then the real issue is them. Luckily, they didn’t win.