Today, the FCC voted on the issue of net neutrality. A 317-page proposal put forth by Tom Wheeler, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, detailed plans that reclassifies the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. (Previous “classification” dates back to 2002 when the FCC ruled that cable modem “broadband” services for Internet access be were an “Information Source.”)
Passed by a 3:2 vote by party line, the proposal gives the FCC some regulation authority over ISPs and sets some ground rules with the purpose of providing an open, level playing field for anyone accessing or broadcasting legal content via the Internet.
The proposal put forth is based on input by millions of voices from the public, the White House, and numerous expert testimonials from this past year and even earlier.
This morning, Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable, discussed this hotly debated, politically charged topic on Bloomberg TV’s “Market Makers” with co-hosts Stephanie Ruhle and Matt Miller along with Bloomberg’s Washington DC correspondent, Peter Cook. You can view the program below.
In a nutshell, Brad noted how the Internet is like a new country being formed and that the passage of the plan by the FCC is a good first step in the right direction to creating the initial “bill of rights,” so to speak, in protecting the openness of the Internet and making sure all bits and bytes are treated equal. He noted how the openness of the Internet enabled the creation of Ustream and the company’s continued innovation. Brad also pointed out how the real area needing more openness, more competition, is in the last mile of connection to the consumer where often the viewer has two, one or even no choice of ISP.
The vote today, arguably the biggest of the FCC in a decade, is just another step in the evolution of the Internet and the rules used to guide consumers and companies alike in how to keep this incredible resource open to all and available for innovation. And, just like a new country, the Internet will continue to change how we live, work, play and communicate. Ustream will continue to monitor this topic and any others that might impact our commitment to innovation and delivering the most scalable, reliable, high-quality video communications solution.