“U.S. regulators banned Internet service providers led by AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from blocking or slowing Web content sent to homes and businesses, while allowing mobile phone companies to put limits on traffic,” Todd Shields reports for Bloomberg.
“The Federal Communications Commission approved the so- called net-neutrality rules by a vote of three to two today,” Shields reports. “Supporters argued that Internet providers, which also own some of the content they deliver online, may interfere with videos and services owned by others such as Google Inc. ‘Today’s decision will help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet while encouraging innovation, protecting consumer choice and defending free speech,’ President Barack Obama said in a statement released today by the White House.”
“Stephen Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Inc. who traveled to Washington from his home near San Francisco to attend today’s FCC vote, told reporters after the meeting that the FCC should have passed more restrictive rules,” Shields reports. “For example, Internet-service providers may block online consumers from receiving movies streamed by Netflix, forcing users to watch movies owned by the telecommunications and telephone companies, Wozniak said. ‘Every normal person in the United States knows this,’ he said.”
“Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker, one of two Republicans to vote against the regulations, called the rules an overreach. ‘There is no factual basis to support government intervention,’ she said. “The majority’s approach will inhibit the ability of networks to freely evolve and experiment,'” Shields reports. “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate’s Republican leader, called the vote ‘a first step in controlling how Americans use the Internet.’ Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who is to become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee when Congress convenes next year, said he would work ‘to strike down the FCC’s brazen effort to regulate the Internet.'”
Shields reports, “‘The FCC does not have the legal authority to issue these rules,’ Robert McDowell, the other Republican commissioner at the FCC, said during the meeting today. ‘This new effort will fail in court.’ Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, said in an e-mailed statement she would ask Congress to revoke the rules, calling them ‘an unprecedented power-grab by the unelected members’ of the FCC.”
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MacDailyNews Note: Back in April of this year, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations. Read more via CNET: Court: FCC has no power to regulate Net neutrality – April 6, 2010