The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved regulating the Internet as a utility in a 3-2 partisan vote, handing a big victory to Net neutrality proponents who lobbied for a decade for tough rules to protect consumers.
The FCC’s action forbids telecom companies from blocking websites, and slowing or speeding up some Internet traffic. This means that all Internet streams should be treated the same, or neutrally, without preferences.
The FCC also voted to make it easier for municipally run Internet providers to expand and compete with Comcast and other private telecom companies, a move lauded by activist groups.
“Some states have created thickets of red tape to limit competition,” said FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, who spearheaded the changes. “What we’re doing today is cutting away the red tape.”