The Federal Communications Commission eventually moved to adopt what has come to be known as Net Neutrality regulations. However, some commissioners are worried that the adoption of the new Internet rules could mean more harm than good to the public. FCC seems to be a dividend house at this point given that the chairman of the federal communications agency believes that reclassifying the Internet as a utility is a positive move.
When FCC commissioners came up to vote in the new Internet regulations, the voting fell right along the party lines. It happened that three Democrat commissioners voted for the changes to Internet regulation while two Republican Commissioners voted against the new regulations. The FCC Democrat Chairman, Tom Wheeler, voted for the new Internet rules.
Stage for new taxes
According to the dissenting commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O’rielly, there is something dangerous in the reclassification of the Internet as a utility. The obvious thing, they noted, is that the adoption of Net Neutrality will open up opportunities for new Internet taxes, hurting the consumers. The two commissioners acknowledged that this may not happen immediately, but the stage is already set.
In his dissenting note, Pai stated that Net Neutrality actually brings government control into what should otherwise be a force for freedom. According to Pai, government intrusion into a powerful freedom tool such as the Internet would not solve a thing.
Pai further noted that since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, no FCC chairman, regardless of the party affiliation, has allowed the regulation of the Internet as a utility. The telecommunications Act of 1996 sought to make the Internet a free and vibrant market that is unfettered by state or federal regulations.
On his part, O’rielly termed the reclassification of the Internet as a Title II utility as an unlawful power grab.
FCC chairman defends move
Specifically, the dissenting FCC commissions believe that the reclassification of the Internet will bring new taxes at the federal, state and local levels to the Internet consumers. However, commission chairman, Wheeler, disagrees. In fact, FCC published a document that seeks to separate facts from fiction in the Net Neutrality debate.