Net Neutrality Euphoria Passed, Now Will It Work?

In the afterglow of the Federal Communications Commission's decision favoring Net neutrality, supporters are having to face some tough issues that lie ahead. The order prohibits broadband providers from blocking, slowing or selling faster delivery of content flowing through their networks. By approving the regulations, the FCC granted the longstanding wishes of public-interest advocates, technology firms and Democrats to strengthen government oversight of the Internet and prevent abuses by broadband service providers.

Even so, the debate over the issue will continue to rage. The fact that the new regulations were decided in a party-line 3-2 vote shows the partisan ideologies on both sides of the technology policy and demonstrated that the issue's ultimate resolution could be years away.

Can They Handle It?

Some critics say the FCC has bitten off more than it can chew. The FCC employs 1,720 people, according to its Web site, but the Internet is used by an estimated 250 million to 300 million Americans every day. That amounts to trillions of actions a day and new activities and uses constantly being discovered and innovated. How can such a relatively small number of regulators manage such a moving target?

Only the five FCC commissioners and a few staffers have seen the 317-page Net neutrality order. That in itself has raised eyebrows. Congressional Republicans have labeled it a "secret plan to regulate the Internet" driven by President Obama. The GOP pushed unsuccessfully for the full proposal to be released before the vote.

Published Soon

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the full order would be made public on the FCC Web site and published in the Federal Register, but has given no indication about when that will happen. It will probably happen before too long, since the regulations can't take effect until 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

Once that...

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