The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

FCC Approves Flawed Net Neutrality Rule

New Rule Fails To Protect Wireless Broadband Users, Says ACLU


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today passed a new rule
clarifying the legal authority of the FCC to enforce network neutrality
principles. Network neutrality principles protect free speech online by
prohibiting the owner of a network from prioritizing some content on the
Internet while slowing other content.

The rule approved today by the FCC includes full network neutrality
protections for the wired Internet, which includes cable and DSL service
to homes and businesses, but provides lesser protections for wireless
broadband service and may allow wireless broadband providers to block
certain applications and services that compete with their own
applications and services. The American Civil Liberties Union has called
for network neutrality protections on both the wired and wireless
Internet as important safeguards for free speech.

"Network neutrality principles are essential to protecting the First
Amendment rights of Americans who rely on the Internet as a forum for
free speech. While the new FCC rule creates stronger network neutrality
protections for Americans who use the wired Internet, it fails to
provide adequate protections for Americans who rely on wireless
broadband service," said Chris Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "By
creating two sets of regulations - one for the wired Internet and one
for wireless broadband - and failing to ground them in the strongest
legal protections available, the FCC has failed to protect free speech
and Internet openness for all users. The ACLU will continue to fight for
full network neutrality protections. Internet openness is key to
protecting our First Amendment rights."

The rule passed by the FCC today does not reclassify wireless broadband
service as a telecommunications service, which the ACLU and other
proponents of network neutrality have long urged. Treating broadband
access as similar to phone service would have allowed the FCC to rely on
its broader regulatory authority under Title II of the Communications
Act to enforce network neutrality principles.

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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