By: Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief
The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality last Thursday that will restrict Internet service providers from giving special access and higher speeds to certain companies and websites.
Net neutrality, which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said will ensure “that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet,” passed by a vote of 3-2.
The policy prevents ISPs from charging content providers, such as Netflix, for example, for speedier streaming or download times.
While the FCC can’t regulate rates charged by ISPs and cannot implement any new taxes, it does allow the organization to take action when a practice by an ISP interferes with consumers.
The vote was split along party lines, with the two dissenting votes going to the two Republicans on the FCC board. AT&T has already threatened to take legal action following the vote as well.
Wheeler had initially released a proposal that would have allowed a system where consumers could pay for certain Internet “fast lanes” if they were deemed “commercially reasonable.” However, he changed the FCC’s policies after backlash from a large segment of the public and President Barack Obama.
Obama released a statement on Feb. 26 after the vote, saying that the decisions “will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”