FCC Votes to Restore Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to restore net neutrality, regulating ISPs and treating broadband "as an essential service."...
FCC Votes to Restore Net Neutrality
Written by Matt Milano
  • The Federal Communications Commission has voted to restore net neutrality, regulating ISPs and treating broadband “as an essential service.”

    Net neutrality was originally passed during the Obama administration, repealed during the Trump administration, and was restored in a vote Thursday. The rule ensures that ISPs cannot penalize or throttle certain types of internet traffic, leveling the playing field for tech companies and streaming services.

    Through its actions today, the Commission creates a national standard by which it can ensure that broadband internet service is treated as an essential service. Today’s vote also makes clear that the Commission will exercise its authority over broadband in a narrowly tailored fashion—without rate regulation, tariffing, or unbundling—to foster continued innovation and investment.

    Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized the fact that nearly a dozen states stepped in after net neutrality was repealed to enact net neutrality rules of their own in the absence of a national solution. She also highlighted the changing role and importance of broadband access in the wake of the pandemic, a major factor that drove the restoration of net neutrality.

    “Four years ago the pandemic changed life as we know it,” Rosenworcel wrote. “We were told to stay home, hunker down, and live online. So much of work, school, and healthcare migrated to the internet. If we wanted to engage with the world, we needed to do it all through a broadband connection.

    “It became clear that no matter who you are or where you live, you need broadband to have a fair shot at digital age success. It went from nice-to-have to need-to-have for everyone, everywhere. Broadband is now an essential service. Essential services—the ones we count on in every aspect of modern life—have some basic oversight.

    “So let’s be clear about what we are doing today. This agency—the Nation’s leading communications authority—believes every consumer deserves internet access that is fast, open, and fair. That is why we determine that the Federal Communications Commission should be able to assist consumers and take action when it comes to the most important communications of our time—and that’s broadband.”

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