New Delhi: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected on Thursday to approve regulating internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from playing faster lanes on the internet.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as "Obamacare for the internet," now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the internet became a reality.
Net neutrality is the idea that everyone should have equal access to every website on the internet. It is also prohibits internet service providers (ISPs) from charging content providers for speedier delivery of their content on 'fast lanes'.
The new FCC rules are still likely to be tied up in a protracted court fight with the cable companies and internet service providers that oppose it, and they could be overturned in the future by a Republican-leaning commission. But for now, Congress's hands appear to be tied.
The FCC plan would let the agency regulate internet access as if it is a public good. It would follow the concept known as net neutrality or an open internet, banning so-called paid prioritization — or fast lanes — for willing internet content providers.
In addition, it would ban the intentional slowing of the internet for companies that refuse to pay broadband providers. The plan would also give the FCC the power to step in if unforeseen impediments are thrown up by the handful of giant companies that run many of the country's broadband and wireless networks.
The rules aim to ensure a high-quality internet experience for all. The proposed regulations aim to ensure that internet content, be it streaming video, audio or other content, will be treated equality by ISPs.
The net neutrality movement pitted new media against old and may well have revolutionized notions of corporate social responsibility and activism.