A win for The People

The FCC’s ruling on net neutrality keeps playing field level

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission came down on the side of the little people, pushing back against far-right obstructionists, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, voting to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, or, to put it another way, preserving net neutrality.

This ought not to have been a partisan issue. However, the decision came down to party lines. Fortunately, in the end, the FCC’s three Democratic representatives voted for rules that will keep the Internet as it has been for the last 20 years—a bastion of free speech.

Of course, those who fall for the memes and sound bites equating net neutrality with Obamacare, as Cruz has, believe the decision spells a federal takeover of the Web. In reality, what it does is protect the little guy by keeping in place the level playing field that we’ve known since the beginning of the World Wide Web.

One of the main reasons Congressional Republicans oppose the FCC regulations is that President Obama announced his support for them. The fact is, according to a recent poll by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, most self-identified conservatives outside of Washington, D.C., support net neutrality.

That support is for good reason. Internet nondiscrimination was in jeopardy, as telecom and cable TV operators have threatened to provide a so-called fast lane for content providers willing to pay for faster delivery, thereby giving themselves and their products a competitive edge.

Net neutrality is important for many of reasons, not the least of which is to ensure that innovation, a key to our nation’s economic stability, continues to flourish. Allowing the broadband providers to reign over the Internet would have been a losing prospect for free speech and consumer rights.