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.
William Ide

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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid