Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to to adopt so-called “net neutrality” rules intended to prevent major Internet companies from controlling what sites their users can access online.
President Obama supports the new regulations, which “will prohibit phone and cable companies from favoring or discriminating against Internet content and services that travel over their networks – including online calling services such as Skype, Internet video services such as Netflix and other applications that compete with their core businesses.”
As with any close vote in Washington, though, not everyone is happy with this decision. Some Republicans say the rules will discourage people from investing in broadband technology while those on the other side of the issue feel that the rules don’t go far enough because they don’t cover smart phones or tablets, which are becoming more popular as online access points, and don’t effectively stop broadband providers from privileging their own traffic or the traffic of partners who can pay extra.
The idea of net neutrality has been floating around the political sphere for years, particularly when Comcast slowed users’ access to BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer file sharing network. Comcast claimed that BitTorrent users were compromising the online experience of fellow Comcast customers by using up so much network capacity.
The new rules are aimed at exactly this type of company control, but how will all this affect consumers? In an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel, Marguerite Reardon, who covers net neutrality issues for CNET.com, recently said, “Well, it won’t change what we’re seeing, but it will hopefully protect what we’re seeing.”
What do you think of the new net neutrality rules? Has the FCC gone too far, not far enough, or are the regulations just right?
Further reading at LegalZoom:
- FCC’s “Net Neutrality” Shot Down by Appellate Court
- Net Neutrality: Should Web Businesses Be Concerned?