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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has favorably voted for Net Neutrality. This starts with classifying the Internet as a Title II service. This act is being blocked by proponents of what used to be free Internet and telecommunication companies. For years, those who have wanted to make the Internet equal, are strongly in favor of Net Neutrality.
If the Internet becomes a Title II service, telecommunication companies will no longer be allowed to charge higher rates and fees for faster Internet, thus, better service. This would mean that companies that require faster Internet for consumers to be allowed to use, such as, Netflix and Google, will not have to continue their fights with telecommunication companies over the prices consumers have to pay to use these services.
There are many who believe that the imminent court battle over Net Neutrality will far exceed any good that might have otherwise been present. Telecommunication companies say it will cost customers even more money if the companies have to add in the cost of regulation. This is a fear telecommunication companies have put into Americans regarding the Internet.
When President Obama joined the push for Net Neutrality, and classified the Internet as a Title II service, it was determined that the government should not control the Internet either. On June 11 the FCC’s rules will take effect. Though, there is not much immediate change to be expected as telecommunication companies are expected to push back.
The Broadband Providers Association has put together a review, but it is not expected to have the same impact as legal action will from those who will serve the regulation. This will end up costing providers money and oversight that is being pushed on them. The bigger problem is that the government will be even more harsh with the over 700 rules, that until now, have just been assumed.
The previous FCC rules were dismissed in 2014. Companies argued the rules that were set up in 2014 were illegal because the Internet was not classified as a Title II service, such as a utility that is classified. After President Obama pointed out that the Internet should be reclassified because it is a crucial part of daily life, the FCC voted to reclassify the Internet as a Title II service.
On April 13, 2015, a Republican member of congress, introduced a resolution requesting for a review of the new Net Neutrality rules to show an effort to the opponents of Net Neutrality that they are doing all they can to fight the legislation. Georgia Republican Doug Collins, introduced this resolution that would block the Net Neutrality rules, which is also called, the Open Internet order, introduced by the FCC in February. This order gives all consumers access to legal content and applications on an equal basis from Internet service providers (ISPs). Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can fast-track review and vote to deny regulations issued by any government agency. If the resolution is approved, it is then signed by the president. However, Obama will likely veto the resolution if it passes.
After an FCC order is published in the Federal Register, opposing parties have 60 days to challenge the order before it is enacted into law. A trade group representing telecommunication businesses, USTelecom, has filed a lawsuit as of April 14 to block the FCC’s order. A prime concern is that these new rules will discourage ISPs from upgrading and otherwise investing in their networks.
The FCC’s Open Internet order, championed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, will classify ISPs as “common carriers” and subject them to rules imposed on public utility companies. A small ISP will not have the ability to compete in a small marketplace. If ISPs are classified as public utilities. Opponents have just 60 days before ISPs become public utilities to plead their case against Net Neutrality.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo courtesy of cobalt123 – Flickr License