Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has unveiled his long-awaited proposed rules on net neutrality. The good news? His proposal explicitly recognises the Internet and the Web as public goods, and proposes so called “Title II” regulation, which will force carriers, including mobile operators, to act in the public interest. Wheeler promises that these rules will “ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services”.
We’ve not yet been able to do a detailed review of the proposals, but if they are as good as Wheeler’s preview promises, today could be a historic day in the battle for the free and open Web. Speaking to the Washington Post earlier this year just after he concluded a visit at the White House to rally support for net neutrality, Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned that violating net neutrality would destroy one of the fundamental principles of the open Internet, that paid prioritisation tantamount to “bribery” and moves away from Net Neutrality could stifle innovation and investment, so today’s developments are very welcome indeed.
We’d like to congratulate the FCC for listening – not just to the many civil society groups who have been arguing for exactly these types of rules for months, but more importantly to the four million plus citizens who have made their voices heard via protests, calls and emails.
Remember, the debate is not over yet. The FCC commissioners still need to vote on these final rules on February 26th. Show your support by tweeting to the FCC using #netneutrality and help to preserve the free and open Web as an engine of growth, innovation and diversity.