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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs