The Federal Communications Commission voted today to approve its controversial first-ever Internet access regulation, which would enshrine into law the idea that all web traffic be treated equally.
The Washington Post reported FCC’s three Democratic members comprised a majority of votes favoring the net neutrality regulation, which FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski introduced more than a year ago. The agency’s two Republican members voted against the rules.
Broadly, the new rules would ban cable TV and phone companies that control Internet networks from blocking access to competing applications such as Internet telephony or to other websites such as Google.
The rules will go into effect early next year, but legal challenges or action by Congress could block the FCC’s action. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday called the FCC’s action “flawed” and said lawmakers would “have an opportunity in the new Congress to push back against new rules and regulations,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Los Angeles Times reported that one of the strongest opposing voices concerning the new rules came from Republican Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker, who said, “Respectfully, I really, really, really dissent,“ and accused FCC of acting simply to fulfill an Obama campaign promise to set in place net neutrality rules.