You guys! The internet is free and equal! Well, at least for now.
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to classify the Internet under Title II, in an attempt to permanently prevent special treatment to those willing to pay a higher price. Net Neutrality keeps all internet content free and open, with no fast lanes for companies with deeper pockets.
At the vote, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said:
“No one … should control free and open access to the Internet. It’s the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules.”
The vote came after years of discussion by the FCC, White House, and thousands of Americans, including U.S. Senator Al Franken. Senator Franken championed net neutrality over recent years, and his leadership helped protect the internet for all users.
But, as you can guess, some people- namely big corporations and Republicans- have already pledged to work against this ruling.
AT&T responded to the vote, for example, with a statement outlining all the possible ways this vote could be reversed:
Partisan decisions taken on 3-2 votes can be undone on similarly partisan 3-2 votes only two years hence. And FCC decisions made without clear authorization by Congress (and who can honestly argue Congress intended this?) can be undone quickly by Congress or the courts.
But, at least for now, the FCC vote is a huge victory to keep the internet open and free.
Sen. Franken has been one of the loudest voices in support of net neutrality, and now that it’s here, as he himself said, that is definitely something worth celebrating.