The open internet finally got the protection it deserves from profit-hungry cable companies. The FCC just approved the strongest set of net neutrality rules in this country’s history, punctuating a years-long battle for this future of the internet. However, the war’s not yet over.
The new rules largely resemble the open internet rules that Obama laid out three months ago. They forbid paid prioritisation — the practice that enables cable companies to create internet “fast lanes” — as well as throttling. The new rules do not allow internet service providers to block websites and give the FCC authority to intervene when big cable companies don’t act in the public interest.
In a nutshell, this plan lets the FCC regulate the internet as a public utility, much like telephones. The plan does not give the government the power to set the price of internet service.
This is all fantastic news, and it’s news we’ve been waiting years to hear. However, the next battle for the future of the internet will happen in America’s courtrooms and possibly in Congress as well. Several cable companies have already expressed intentions to sue the FCC over the rules, and those cases could drag out for years. These court cases are particularly dangerous. In 2011, a Verizon lawsuit led to a judge overruling the FCC’s old net neutrality rules.
But for now, these are the rules that internet experts agree are the best way to preserve net neutrality. This is the outcome that America deserves.