Big Internet providers may have lost the fight to control the speed and content of what moves on the Internet. Federal Communications Commissioner Tom Wheeler on Wednesday called for regulating the Internet as a utility, which will prevent giant providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from dictating the terms of the marketplace.
In an op-ed for Wired magazine that appeared Wednesday, Wheeler said, "I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone's permission."
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has been one of the Senate’s most ardent backers of what commonly is called “net neutrality.” In a statement Wednesday, Franken called Wheeler’s proposal “a win for consumers, for small businesses trying to compete with big guys, and for innovation... I’m so glad that the millions of Americans who spoke out in support of strong net neutrality rules have been heard."
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn, expressed support for the plan on Twitter, calling it “a huge victory for hundreds of thousands who called, wrote, tweeted for #NetNeutrality.”
The FCC is scheduled to vote on the net neutrality regulations Feb. 26.