Things are looking good for net neutrality. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to treat the internet more like a public utility. This vote comes after a lengthy political battle over the best course of action, but it looks like that fight is winding down. The New York Times reports that key GOP opponents have accepted near-certain defeat:
On Tuesday, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, all but surrendered on efforts to overturn the coming ruling, conceding Democrats are lining up with President Obama in favour of the F.C.C.
Obama came out in favour of a plan for net neutrality that would reclassify the internet as a public utility late last year, following a passionate public outcry against the FCC’s old proposed rules for net neutrality, which could’ve been used to develop slow and fast lanes of service depending on which companies shelled out for premium fees, in essence creating a tiered internet.
GOP opponents like Senator Ted Cruz criticised Obama’s plan as a potential quagmire of bureaucracy that would slow down innovation, while net neutrality advocates rallied against the idea that Internet Service Providers could determine what online content got delivered first by making companies pay up if they wanted to go in the fast lanes.
In January, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a revamped plan for net neutrality rules that closely mirrored the president’s, kicking of another round of political sniping. But as the vote date looms, it looks likely that the new rules will get voted in. [New York Times]