The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 along party lines today to move forward with its proposal to reinstate open internet rules that were repealed during the Trump administration. A final vote is expected to come next year.
The move would reclassify broadband internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, opening the industry up to more expansive oversight from the FCC.
The coined “net neutrality” regulations would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or slowing down services like Google, Netflix, and others on their networks.
Broadband providers and Republicans have vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will be too much of a millstone on broadband providers.
“You’re dealing with the most central infrastructure in the digital age. Come on, it’s time for a national policy,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in remarks supporting the proposal.
In anticipation of today’s vote, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee slammed the proposal as a “solution in search of a problem,” in a letter to Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
Today, Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) rebuked Rosenworcel and Democrat FCC commissioners following their vote to proceed on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as the first step toward government control of the Internet.
“Since this debate was settled in 2017, American broadband networks have thrived. Thanks to our light-touch regulatory framework, more people have access to faster, more reliable, and more affordable internet services. We’re also closer than ever before to closing the digital divide and solidifying our leadership in next-generation technologies. Now is not the time to impose utility-style controls. We strongly urge the FCC to reverse course on this proposed rulemaking, which will weaken services, stifle innovation, and jeopardize American communications leadership,” the legislators said.