FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today made a major announcement regarding net neutrality, revealing a proposal to reclassify broadband as a utility.
The new proposition would see the FCC use Title II to reclassify broadband — of the regular ol’ wired and mobile varieties — as a utility. Under the rules, internet service providers would be banned from paid prioritization, aka letting legal content and service providers pay to let consumers access their products faster than their competitors.
The proposed rules would also ban blocking and throttling of services, which would prevent ISPs from negatively affecting legal content and services for whatever reason.
“The internet must be fast, fair and open. That is the message I’ve heard from consumers and innovators across this nation,” FCC Chairman Wheeler said, going on to say that his proposal aims to cement the rights of consumers to go where they want when they want online, and the rights of producers to offer new products without asking for anyone’s permission.
Obviously this is a pretty big move for broadband in the U.S., and it’s great to see wireless broadband and carriers included in the proposed rules. The proposal will be voted on by the FCC at an open meeting on February 26. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the government reacts to the proposal and what ISPs have to say about it.