Net Neutrality is now the law, according to the FCC. The measure passed on Thursday by a 3-2 vote, strictly along party lines. Without question, the decision will be appealed. However, the chances of the appeal succeeding are cloudy considering a previous US Court of Appeals ruling which effectively told the FCC that the only way it could achieve its goals is by doing exactly what it did this week.
What the FCC did was to rule that broadband internet is a public utility, specifically a ?Common Carrier? under Title II of the Communications Act. This now gives broadband internet service the same status as landline telephone and cell phone systems.
In announcing the decision, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler stated that ?This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech.?
Ars Technica has an extensive overview of the decision and the story behind it, including dissenting opinions. For a basic tutorial on what net neutrality is, check out CNN??s ?What Does Net Neutrality Mean To You?? You can also read a series of opinions on what it might mean by heading over to The Verge and read their compilation of coverage of this decision, ?How 14 Major News Outlets Explain Net Neutrality.?
– Pat Welsh