As expected, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved new rules that would bar Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or prioritizing access to particular sites or services.
The new rules resemble ones that the agency previously enacted but that had twice been thrown out by a federal court. Unlike those previous efforts to guarantee net neutrality, the new rules are grounded in the commission’s authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which gives the agency vast powers to regulate so-called common carriers such as telephone and telegraph operators.
“This is our third bite at the apple, and we must get it right,” Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said prior to the 3-2 vote on the rules.
Although the concept of net neutrality has been backed by Republicans and Democrats, the new rules were highly contentious, a fact that was reflected in the split vote. The commission’s Democrats voted in favor of them and its Republicans opposed them.
“The Internet is not broken,” said Commissioner Ajit Pai. “There’s no problem here for government to solve.”
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