Why All the Hype Over Net Neutrality?
Learn what net neutrality is all about and why it's so important.
While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are cracking down on Internet piracy by seizing control of 80-plus websites suspected of offering counterfeit goods, the Federal Communications Commission has once again delayed a discussion of and probable vote on net neutrality rules.
The commission has postponed its scheduled Dec. 2 meeting until Dec. 21. But unlike the FCC's previous decision to delay a vote on net neutrality until after the November elections, this delay is no harbinger of the end for net neutrality. In fact, InformationWeek's W. David Gardner suggests the delay signals the commission is "getting its ducks in a row for a vote" on the issue.
The three Democratic commissioners are expected to vote-now or later-for a consumer-friendly regulation on Internet access, while the two Republican members are expected to hold out for relatively unfettered oversight favoring industry players.
A group of lawmakers led by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., tried to push net neutrality legislation through Congress, but support fell apart while the measure was still in committee. And that was before the elections resulted in a host of new Republican legislators who will be far less likely to approve of government regulation of the Internet.
It makes sense, then, that the FCC would choose to act on the issue itself, but how the commission will act, and the type of regulation to be adopted remain to be seen.