Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 Thursday to take up Chairman Tom Wheeler’s controversial plan of allowing Internet providers to charge websites for faster service sparking concerns of slower service for common users.
FCC’s Republican commissioners voted no while two Democrat members voted yes on the proposal during a meeting that was also attended by some of the protesters demonstrating outside the FCC building.
One pro-net neutrality activist, Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance, spoke at the FCC meeting demanding that the agency do its job and regulate the Internet for the people and not for the corporations. Other net neutrality advocates have pushed Wheeler to abandon his plan and instead reclassify Internet providers as “common carriers.”
Wheeler allayed fears that equal treatment of traffic on the Internet would end as the Internet would be divided into a fast lane for the haves and slow lane for the have-nots.
Wheeler’s proposal, which will be debated with the public’s input welcome, was an offshoot of his early proposal called “Open Internet Order.” A court, however, found the order treating Internet providers too much like traditional phone companies.
The court directed the FCC to rewrite its rules using its authority to promote Internet access under Section 706 of the agency’s foundational law, The Hill reported.
A revised rule Wheeler announced in April allows Internet providers to charge websites and online services for better access to users but such arrangements would be checked to make sure it does not harm consumers or competition.