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FCC Chairman announces plans to classify internet as a utility

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

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Big news in the Net Neutrality debate, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced in an op-ed published in Wired that he plans classify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

What this essentially means is that under this new classification, the FCC will be able to better regulate Internet service providers, and stop the building of fast and slow lanes for data, or inhibiting service in other ways. Wheeler writes:

"I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission. All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. To preserve incentives for broadband operators to invest in their networks, my proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling. Over the last 21 years, the wireless industry has invested almost $300 billion under similar rules, proving that modernized Title II regulation can encourage investment and competition."

Net Neutrality has been a long ongoing debate within United State politics that has ramped up in the past year with President Obama coming out in favor of "a free and open internet."

Those in favor of Net Neutrality believe that all of the Internet's content should be free and unregulated, and that ISPs should not be allowed to charge based on content, origin user, etc.

Those who oppose New Neutrality believe that the government regulating the internet will inhibit competition and therefore innovation, and that those who use more data should pay more.

Read the entire Wired piece.

Matt Lee is a Web Producer for Metro.US and specializes in writing about everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on twitter so he doesn't feel lonely at @mattlee2669.

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