Friday, February 27, 2015
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, February 27, 2015
Net neutrality passes in landmark FCC decision
With a bang of the gavel, the internet in the U.S. now has ground rules and a “referee on the field” to enforce them.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted today in Washington to regulate internet service like a public good, the way it has been treated in Canada for years.
“The internet must remain open. We will protect the values of an open internet, both in the last mile as well as at the point of interconnection,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said at the long-awaited hearing on net neutrality — the concept that all online traffic must be equally accessible.
“The internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet,” Wheeler said. “It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.”
The ruling delivers a blow to senior Republicans and large U.S. cable providers such as Comcast and Verizon, which poured $44.2 million US into lobbying efforts to allow some internet users to pay for zippier connectivity.
Grassroots activists had mobilized online to oppose such preferential treatment for “fast lane” access, with more than four million people filing public grievances to the FCC.
Thursday’s long-awaited vote, which passed 3-2 in favour of net neutrality, ended the debate.
However, the broadband industry has hinted that it may challenge the decision in court.
In a statement following the vote, Verizon’s senior vice president of public policy Michael Glover slammed the ruling as “badly antiquated,” characterizing it as a regulatory overreach that would restrict internet service providers from offering the best access. (Source: CBC News)