The 3-2 vote party-line vote establishes the Net Neutrality provisions outlined by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that among other things would prohibit ISPs from giving priority access to some Internet traffic over others while at the same time allowing them to set tiered pricing for users who consume different levels of bandwidth. The full text of the order won't be available for a few days.
Even before the vote even took place, the extreme advocates for and opponents against Net Neutrality both voiced their disapproval. For many Net Neutrality supporters, the order simply doesn't go far enough. They complain that mobile operators are exempt from content blocking prohibitions and that there are too many loopholes for traditional ISPs to circumvent the spirit of the order. Opponents feel it's an unlawful power grab by the FCC over an issue that should be left up to the free market to decide.
Within the music industry, however, the response is rather muted. Representatives of independent and unsigned artists want Net Neutrality in place to ensure up and coming artists have just as much access to the Internet as superstar artists backed by major labels. The RIAA supports Net Neutrality so long as the rules don't prohibit ISPs from taking action against pirated content (should they choose to do so).
By no means is this the end of the issue. A court challenge is almost inevitable, and there's buzz that congressional republicans may use their newfound majority to introduce legislation in the new term that could overturn the FCC's action.
Net Neutrality Reactions:
Although the FCC's Order seemingly falls short of offering full protections, it does provide a framework in which those who depend on access and innovation -- including musicians and music entrepreneurs -- can pursue their goals in a legitimate digital music marketplace. If provisions to preserve the open internet are to be meaningful, however, they must be coupled with steadfast enforcement as well as an unambiguous application to the wireless space.
- Casey Rae-Hunter, Communications Director and Policy Strategist for the Future of Music Coalition
We have long maintained that we needed rules with the force of law to provide baseline protections to consumers and innovators. Today's vote, coupled with strong future enforcement, would provide a degree of certainty to all participants in the broadband marketplace and help foster an open wireline Internet online ecosystem. We thank Chairman Genachowski for initiating this process and Commissioners Copps and Clyburn for improving the order to address important issues. However, we also recognize the great potential that wireless broadband presents to consumers, innovators and the economy. The Commission should move to apply the same rules of the road to the entire Internet moving forward.
- Markham Erickson, Executive Director, Open Internet Coalition
It's a step forward - but hardly more than an incremental step beyond the Internet Policy Statement adopted by the previous Republican FCC. After such an enormous build up and tumultuous process, it is unsurprising that supporters of an open Internet are bitterly disappointed - particularly given the uncertainty over how the rules will be enforced.
- Harold Feld, Legal Director, Public Knowledge (via blog)