Friday, February 6, 2015

It's official: the FCC will seek to reclassify the internet as a utility


Today, in a statement given to Wired, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler revealed his plan to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. It's a striking victory for net neutrality advocates who have been fighting for years to solidify internet protections using Title II authority — and it's the first time the FCC has shown enough backbone to draw a line in the sand against companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, who are sure to fight viciously in courts to reverse this action.

"I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," Wheeler wrote. "These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services."

"My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want."

The biggest revelation from the proposal is the decision to lump wireless networks in with wired broadband, something the FCC has avoided doing for years thanks to enormous pressure from Verizon and AT&T.