Keep the Web ‘neutral’
A federal appeals court ruling a few weeks back shocked the world when it announced that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require “net neutrality” on the part of broadband providers. The ruling came just as the commission was concluding a process instituting that very requirement.
Internet users should be concerned.
The decision was basically a big victory for Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and the other large communication companies which oppose net neutrality (that is, the historic equal access to all Web sites) because it would limit their ability to favor some online content over others—to be, in other words, gatekeepers of the Internet. And it threw a monkey wrench into the national broadband plan the FCC issued last month, since the commission cannot move forward without clear authority to regulate broadband.
There is a solution to this dilemma, however. It’s a simple one that we favor: Under the Communications Act, the FCC, which now classifies broadband in the same way it does any Internet application, such as Facebook or LexisNexis, can “reclassify” it as a “communications service,” a category that includes such two-way services as the phone companies. This clearly is where broadband belongs. It sounds ridiculously simple, but a reclassification would automatically give the FCC the ability to regulate broadband and maintain a free and thriving Internet.