Issue of the Day

Net neutrality may have just become the law of the land

Net neutrality

Protesters demanding net neutrality. (Vision Planet Media/Flickr)

A federal court has decided cable companies must treat all internet equally (AKA they can't block Internet traffic at their own discretion). This comes at the end of a decade-long fight, but it may not be over yet.

What happened today?

In a 2-1 ruling, a court upheld the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rules. No longer can internet providers slow their delivery of content. They must ensure their internet services are equally available to all Americans.

Tom Wheeler, the head of the FCC, celebrated the decision:

"After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections — both on fixed and mobile networks — that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future"

Google and Netflix already support net neutrality and said companies who don't are harming customers. With the ability to slow downloads or force users to buy extra services, companies without regulatory limits could unfairly control the web.

Gene Kimmelman from the internet advocacy group Public Knowledge was equally excited about the ruling:

“This is an enormous win for consumers ... It ensures the right to an open Internet with no gatekeepers.”

Is anyone opposing it?

The providers who don't support net neutrality certainly are. The new limitations would hurt their business and companies like AT&T have promised to fight back.

David McAtee II, the senior executive vice president of AT&T, guaranteed the company would appeal the decision:

“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal"

Oh, and Ted Cruz also called net neutrality "ObamaCare for the Internet."

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Net neutrality may have just become the law of the land

Samantha Rhodes

Samantha is a senior at Georgetown studying English and studio art. She has written for USA TODAY College, The Hoya, DC Life Magazine, and Smithsonian, among others, and is the current co-editor-in-chief of Georgetown campus publication Venture Capitol, which covers entrepreneurship and startups in DC. When not reporting or shooting with her Nikon, she's surrounded by books on Greek mythology and neuroscience or listening to tech podcasts on her way to Bikram yoga.

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