Will internet freedom soon be protected?
According to officials at the Federal Communications Commission, by next month, we may finally have an ruling on net neutrality. That agency has been considering new rules for internet providers since the DC Circuit Court struck down the FCC's previous net neutrality regulations last January. That court ruled that the FCC could not regulate internet providers like utility companies because the agency had exempted providers from so-called “common carrier” status.
Net neutrality activists have been calling on the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, which would prevent them from creating fast and slow lanes on the internet based on customers' or content providers' ability to pay. However, many industry lobbyists and Republican lawmakers have been pushing back against such regulations, claiming rules would stifle innovation.
Originally, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appeared to side with the industry, but intense public pressure has made tougher regulations more likely. We may be only weeks away from finding out whether internet freedom won out over corporate power... hopefully our voices were heard.