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FCC votes to restore net neutrality rules| GuyWhoKnowsThings

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to restore regulations that expand government oversight of broadband providers and aims to protect consumers' access to the Internet, a measure that will reignite a long-standing battle over the open Internet.

Known as net neutrality, the regulations were first implemented nearly a decade ago under the Obama administration and are intended to prevent Internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from blocking or downgrading the delivery of services from competitors like Netflix and YouTube. The rules were repealed during former President Donald J. Trump's administration and have proven to be a contentious partisan issue over the years, pitting tech giants against broadband providers.

In a three-to-two vote along party lines, the five-member commission appointed by President Biden revived rules declaring broadband a regulated utility like phones and water. The rules also give the FCC the ability to require broadband providers to report and respond to outages, as well as expand the agency's oversight of providers' security issues.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said the rules reflect the importance of high-speed Internet as the primary means of communication for many Americans.

“All consumers deserve Internet access that is fast, open and fair,” said Ms. Rosenworcel. “This is common sense.”

Broadband providers are expected to file lawsuits to overturn the reinstated rules.

“This is not a problem for broadband consumers, who have enjoyed an open Internet for decades,” said Jonathan Spalter, president of a broadband lobbying group, USTelecom. The organization said it would “pursue all available options, including in court.”

in a letter Sent to Ms. Rosenworcel earlier this week, dozens of prominent Republican lawmakers warned that regulating broadband providers like public utilities would hurt the growth of the telecommunications industry.

The main goal of the regulations is to prevent Internet service providers from controlling the quality of the consumer's experience when visiting websites and accessing online services. When the rules were first set, Google, Netflix and other online services warned that broadband providers had incentives to slow or block access to their services. Consumer and free speech groups supported this view.

There have been few examples of sites being blocked or slowed down, which net neutrality advocates say is largely due to fears that companies would draw scrutiny if they did so. And opponents say the rules could lead to greater and unnecessary government oversight of the industry.

“The Internet in the United States thrived in the absence of the command-and-control regulation of the government of the 1930s,” said Brendan Carr, a Republican commissioner.

A decade ago, potential new regulations sparked raucous protests. At the time, telecommunications companies were losing business to online streaming services. Sites like Facebook, Google and Amazon feared they would be forced to pay telecommunications companies for better delivery of their services.

During the Trump administration, the FCC Reverse net neutrality.. Republican lawmakers and FCC commissioners have argued that the rules are unnecessary and that the government has overreached.

Democrats have argued they are critical to consumer protection. In the void of federal regulations, several states, including California and Washington, created their own net neutrality laws.

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