The Federal Communications Commission, in a three-to-two vote, is moving ahead to implement new rules that would open the way for Internet service providers to charge websites for faster and higher-quality delivery of content to consumers. The plan has all kinds of implications for how online content is delivered, how much it will cost, and which companies have deep enough pockets to compete.
Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel voted against the proposed rules, saying the commission shouldn't allow for clear, fast lanes for the most privileged companies. Instead, she supported the idea of allowing the FCC to consider questions on how it could prevent some websites from being blocked.
FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, who floated the proposed regulations earlier this week, said the rules are the fastest way to ensure the Internet remains open while addressing the legal issues raised by courts that have struck down two previous attempts by the FCC to pen net neutrality rules.
"There is one Internet. It must be fast, it must be robust, and it must be open," he said during the hearing on Thursday. "The prospect of a gatekeeper choosing winners and losers on the Internet is unacceptable."
More than 100 people protested at the FCC on Thursday, according to Tribune News Service. Signs reading "Liberate the Internet" and "Keep the Internet Free" were scattered liberally throughout the crowd. Three audience members were escorted from the meeting room for shouting protests.
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