News / USA

    FCC Regulators Pass Controversial "Net Neutrality" Rules for US

    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski (C) delivers remarks before the commission voted to adopted controversial Net neutrality rules December 21, 2010 in Washington, DC.
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski (C) delivers remarks before the commission voted to adopted controversial Net neutrality rules December 21, 2010 in Washington, DC.

    The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, approved controversial new rules for the Internet on Tuesday that supporters say will protect the interests of consumers, service providers and investors.  Opponents, however, warn that the new rules seek to fix something that is not broken and will invite other countries to do more to regulate the Internet.  

    A divided Federal Communications Commission approved the new rules by a vote of 3 to 2.  The decision was divided along party lines with two Democratic commissioners and the Democratic chairman Julius Genachowski voting in favor of the rules. The FCC's two Republican commissioners voted against the rules.

    Genachowski says the changes are an effort to create enforceable guidelines. "To be clear, as we stand here now, the freedom and openness of the Internet are unprotected.  No rules on the book to protect basic Internet values, no process for monitoring Internet openness as technology and business models evolve, no recourse for innovators, consumers or speakers harmed by improper practices.  And no predictability for Internet service providers, so that they can effectively manage and invest in broadband networks," he said.

    In a statement shortly after the vote, President Barack Obama said his administration is committed to seeing that innovation is allowed to flourish, consumers are protected from abuse, and that the democratic spirit of the Internet remains intact.

    The so-called "net neutrality" rules are supposed to keep companies that provide access to the Internet from blocking or slowing applications that use large amounts of bandwidth.

    The rules prohibit Internet providers such as telephone and cable companies from discriminating against Internet services, such as those that come from their rivals.  But the new rules give broadband providers flexibility to exercise what the FCC calls "reasonable management" of data to deal with problems of network congestion and unwanted traffic, including junk emails.  Internet companies will also be allowed to charge more for higher speed access in some cases.

    The rules for wireless companies are similar to those for broadband companies when it comes to prohibiting the blockage of content and services.  Wireless companies, however, were given more leeway to manage data traffic because wireless systems have more bandwidth constraints.

    Both of the FCC's Democratic commissioners expressed disappointment that the rules had not met all of their expectations, but argued that having some rules is better than none.

    Michael Copps is one of the Democratic commissioners who voted in favor of the new rules. "We do not anchor ourselves on what I believe to be the best legal framework nor have we crafted rules that are as strong as I would have liked.  But with (Tuesday's) action, we nonetheless appear to steer ourselves back toward a better course," he said.

    Critics argue that the FCC does not have the authority to establish or enforce the rules it approved.  They argue that the Internet is thriving and that the FCC is addressing a problem where none exists.

    The new rules are likely to be challenged by the courts and by members of the incoming Congress.

    Robert McDowell, one of the Republican FCC commissioners, warned that the new U.S. rules will invite other countries to take similar action. "Today, the United States is abandoning the longstanding, bipartisan and international consensus to insulate the Internet from state meddling in favor of a preference for top down control by unelected political appointees - three of whom will decide what constitutes reasonable behavior," he said.

    McDowell noted that last week in the United Nations, China and Saudi Arabia - nations known for their tight controls over the Internet - renewed efforts to create a global body for policing cyberspace.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora