by Jon Street
In what one Republican called a “monumental shift toward government control of the Internet,” the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a proposal granting the federal government the authority to regulate Internet broadband providers under the same law as public utilities.
The five commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines in favor of the proposal known as net neutrality. The 332-page plan, which has not yet been publicly released, bans broadband providers from blocking, throttling or prioritizing certain Internet pages over others. The FCC has said the proposal will not seek to impose any new taxes or fees.
The three Democrats voiced their support of the measure while the two Republicans dissented. Democrats say they have the authority to impose the new regulations under under Title II of the Federal Communications Act of 1934.
In his remarks, Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai called the plan a “monumental shift toward government control of the Internet” and a “rapid departure” from market-oriented approaches.