FCC votes to reclassify broadband (including mobile) as a utility

Back at the start of the month, the FCC readied itself for a showdown: it was time to address net neutrality in a way unlike the agency had approached it in the past, considering whether or not internet service should be reclassified as a utility and regulated as such. Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed a plan that would use modernized Title II regulations to prohibit paid prioritization of content, as well as well as preventing ISPs from blocking delivery of otherwise legal content. Today the FCC passed those rules with a 3-2 vote.

The new reclassification applies to mobile internet service as much as wired broadband, hopefully preserving the ability of developers and service providers to innovate without finding themselves beholden to gatekeeper carriers.

While this is a big step forward for net neutrality, the battle may not be over yet, and carriers and ISPs are almost sure to raise legal challenges against the FCC’s actions today. And while those have the potential to stretch on for years, the big fight looks like its’s already been won.

Don’t expect any immediate changes to the way you access data either at home or on your phone as a result of this vote, but rest assured that protections are now in place to ensure that your ability to do so doesn’t suddenly go away in a few years because one of the companies involved didn’t feel like playing ball with another. By its vote, the FCC has made it clear that internet access in this day and age is far too precious a thing to leave to the whims of big business.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!