FCC votes 3-2 to reclassify internet service as Title II Utility

By GamingNexus On 26 Feb, 2015 At 01:00 PM | Categorized As Gaming Industry News | With 0 Comment

The words Net Neutrality have been talked about a lot since Verizon managed to overturn the original rules some 14 months ago in a court of law.  Since then, the American people have made their concerns and voices heard:  Anything short of a new set of rules would be unacceptable.  ISPs have come under fire in the last several years for throttling speeds, charging exorbitant fees, and generally making life difficult for the average internet user.

Today, the step towards changing that began.  FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler led the final meeting today among his fellow commissioners and finally called for the official vote.  The vote went as expected, 3-2 on party lines, in favor of reclassification of the internet as a Title II Utility.

Wheeler said this about the historic vote:

THE INTERNET — THE INTERNET IS THE MOST POWERFUL AND PERVASIVE PLATFORM ON THE PLANET. IT’S SIMPLY TOO IMPORTANT TO BE LEFT WITHOUT RULES AND WITHOUT A REFEREE ON THE FIELD. THINK ABOUT IT. THE INTERNET HAS REPLACED THE FUNCTIONS OF THE TELEPHONE AND THE POST OFFICE. THE INTERNET HAS REDEFINED COMMERCE, AND AS THE OUTPOURING FROM 4 MILLION AMERICANS HAS DEMONSTRATED, THE INTERNET IS THE ULTIMATE VEHICLE FOR FREE EXPRESSION. THE INTERNET IS SIMPLY TOO IMPORTANT TO ALLOW BROADBAND PROVIDERS TO BE THE ONES MAKING THE RULES. [APPLAUSE] SO LET’S ADDRESS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE HEAD-ON. THIS PROPOSAL HAS BEEN DESCRIBED BY ONE OPPONENT AS, QUOTE, A SECRET PLAN TO REGULATE THE INTERNET. NONSENSE! THIS IS NO MORE A PLAN TO REGULATE THE INTERNET THAN THE FIRST AMENDMENT IS A PLAN TO REGULATE FREE SPEECH. [APPLAUSE] THEY BOTH STAND FOR THE SAME CONCEPT: OPENNESS, EXPRESSION, AND AN ABSENCE OF GATE KEEPERS TELLING PEOPLE WHAT THEY CAN DO, WHERE THEY CAN GO AND WHAT THEY CAN THINK. THE ACTION THAT WE TAKE TODAY IS ABOUT THE PROTECTION OF INTERNET OPENNESS.

So, what does this mean?  Well, we still have a lot of hurdles to jump through.  AT&T and Verizon have made it clear that they are going to challenge this and already have lawsuits drawn up.  There is no word as to just how that will play out, but as for the ruling itself, here’s the key points:

“No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

“No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

“No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration — in other words, no ‘fast lanes.’ This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.”

This means good things for you as a gamer.  It means that your connection cannot be throttled for any reason.  It means that no content can be blocked on vague rules.  It also means that all sites, connections, etc. must be treated the same.

We’ll have more on this as the information comes out.  While this wasn’t technically a gaming piece, there are far too many online players out there to ignore this ruling here.  We’re hope you’re as happy as we are, but we also must remember that we’re not out of the woods yet.


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