FCC Expected To Pass Net Neutrality Rules On Thursday, Republican Opposition Backs Down

All signs point to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approving the regulation of the Internet as a public utility, a reclassification under Title II that will ultimately give the FCC the power it needs to impose certain rules, the biggest of which is prohibiting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from charging for faster lanes on the web.

According to The New York Times, senior Republicans have essentially conceded that the fight with President Obama over the reclassification of the Internet is over. Furthermore, Republicans have said that they are unlikely to pass legislation that would undo the forthcoming policy shift, which is expected to occur on Thursday.

FCC

"We're not going to get a signed bill that doesn't have Democrats' support," said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. "This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support."

The fight over net neutrality has been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs for both proponents and opponents. In the past, the FCC has tried to implement net neutrality rules, but lacked the legal power to do so because the Internet is currently classified as an information service. By reclassifying it as a utility under Title II, the Internet would fall into the same category as power companies, thus allowing regulation that's presumably in the best interest of the people.

Not everyone agrees, especially ISPs who claim that this approach will stifle innovation. And though Republicans are taking a step back, it would be premature to celebrate victory on Thursday, as the new FCC rules will inevitably end up being argued in court. This has already been threatened, and it looks like cable companies and ISPs will ask for a stay on the new rules.

The good news for net neutrality advocates in favor of the reclassification is that it will be an uphill battle to overturn the rules. Yes, they can be tied up in litigation for a long time, but not forever.

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