The Federal Communications Commision on Thursday approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet." The two dissenting votes came from FCC members who warned that the FCC was overstepping its authority.
Update 3:23 p.m.: LA Mayor Garcetti weighs in on decision
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today praised the Federal Communications Commission's approval Thursday of the policy known as net neutrality.
"We fought for this decision because an open Internet is essential for equal access to the economy of the future, especially in the creative, technology and communications sectors, which are so critical to L.A.'s middle class," Garcetti said in a statement released to news media. "My office will continue to work with the FCC and state Public Utilities Commission in addition to mobile operators and broadband providers to deliver the best possible services to Angelenos. These new rules give us clarity and allow us to pursue an aggressive strategy in giving Angelenos the fast and affordable Internet service they deserve."
Garcetti said the city, in August 2014, filed comments with the FCC in support of net neutrality.
10:28 a.m.: FCC approves net neutrality rules for 'open Internet'
The Federal Communications Commission approved the policy known as net neutrality by a 3-2 vote at its Thursday meeting, with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saying the policy will ensure "that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet."
The policy helps to decide an essential question about how the Internet works, requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways — and at different costs.
"Today is a red-letter day," Wheeler said later.
The dissenting votes came from Michael O'Rielly and Ajut Pai, Republicans who warned that the FCC was overstepping its authority and interfering in commerce to solve a problem that doesn't exist. They also complained that the measure's 300-plus pages weren't publicly released or openly debated.
The new policy would replace a prior version adopted in 2010 — but that was put on hold following a legal challenge by Verizon. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled last year that the FCC did not have sufficient regulatory power over broadband.
After that ruling, the FCC was left to reclassify broadband in a way to gain broader regulatory powers.
Saying the FCC was seizing power in "a radical departure" from its earlier policies. Commissioner Ajut Pai, a Republican, spoke against the proposal. He accused the FCC of "turning its back on Internet freedom."
Pai said that the commissioners were backing the new measure for only one reason: "because President Obama told us to."
Seeing the new policy as an attempt to intrude on the Internet, Pai predicted higher costs for consumers and less innovation by businesses.
The proposal was introduced at Thursday's meeting by Julie Veach, chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau, who said it "would set forth clear, sustainable, enforceable rules to preserve and protect the open Internet as a place for innovation and free expression."
She said the order "builds on the views of some 4 million Americans" who responded to a request for comments.
Guest speakers included Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and writer and TV producer Veena Sud, whose show "The Killing" survived with the help of Netflix. A short video from Tim Berners-Lee was also shown.
Precise terms and details of the policy have not been made publicly available — a situation that prompted two Republican FCC commissioners to seek to postpone Thursday's vote. That request was denied.
Summarizing "What you need to know" about Thursday's vote, Eyder wrote for the Two-Way, "Without net neutrality rules, ISPs could theoretically take money from companies like Netflix or Amazon to speed up traffic to their sites."
Thursday's vote comes after Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Ajut Pai asked that the FCC "immediately release the 332-page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it."
That request was denied.