Good news for those who have spent more than a decade fighting for the Internet regulations to be stricter. The official publications of the rules in the Federal Register which is expected today, will soon give a shape to their success. For those who opposed, this is definitely a bad news and its expected they may file cases against the result.
Federal Communications Commission after many months of heated argument has approved the following rules – Internet service providers cannot speed-up, slow down or block a consumer’s access to any specific content. The rules are expected to go into effect 60 days after its published, without any involvement from court.
Maura Corbett, a supporter of the new rules and founder of the Glen Echo Group, a technology policy advocacy group stated, “This did not happen overnight.” She also added, “It’s been a really long time that we’ve been defending this revolution and it’s taken a village.” There was constant disagreement in that village, though, about what to name the cause.
The fight for principles of net neutrality by Corbett has been on for more than 20 years. The term Net neutrality was coined by Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor in 2003. The term refers to the concept of treating any content on the Internet neutrally and barring a provider like AT&T or Comcast from misusing the access to any particular site or charging companies like Netflix for faster delivery of their content.
Corbett said followers of such strict regulations for Internet providers had dedicated many years seeking to make the supercilious abstract principles of their movement available to the general public. Some even tried to overthrow ‘net neutrality’ from the vernacular while Corbett tried to rebrand it and call it ‘open internet.’ Many suggested options like ‘save the internet’ and ‘Net freedom.’ But ultimately stuck with ‘Net Neutrality’ itself.
It was actually Internetwork Neutrality which was later chopped down to network neutrality. It was obvious to the supporters that it will be unrelated to the legal issues that are expected, For the opponents, there is 60-day countdown by the publication of rules which would be the time open for them to file lawsuits.
Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group said the first 10 days would be considered very important and significant. The complaints filed during that time would be combined and lottery would decide the federal court that will hear the unified case.
Many opponents are expected to take the case with the agency’s reclassifying Internet service providers as telecommunications rather than information services, posing them to utility-style regulation under Title II of the Communications Act. Many challengers seem to object the Title II classification rather than the principles of Net neutrality.
US Telecom Association and Alamo Broadband – a trade group that consists some of the largest Internet provider and a small provider in Texas, respectively – filed two lawsuits last month. They were filed to consider the release of the full text of the rules in March would be considered as the official publication date rather than their printing in the Federal Register.
The above two associations are expected to re-file their complaints and several additional law suits are expected from many other parties which strongly condemn that the regulations could have a ‘potentially devastating impact’ on the economy.
Still, champions of the rules are not fearless and indomitable. Corbett is happy the whole issue has got some spotlight and has been investigated by experts of the case.
However, experts critique that the new Internet regulations will suppress innovation and lead to $11 billion increase in new taxes and fees that would end up on the heads of the consumers burdening them more.