YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to regulate broadband Internet as a public utility.
The new ruling by the FCC means Internet service providers can’t pick and choose speeds and access fees for different types of online content. It is being called a victory for consumers.
“I think a level playing field makes sense. I think net neutrality makes sense. I think they made the right decision. I know that some of the big companies will complain, but they always do,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said.
The change means Internet providers can’t slow down service for customers who use competitors’ products. That was a big issue for video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
“I think today’s vote was great for the American consumer. It was not just great for general consumer downloading Netflix,” said Youngstown State University Department of Communications professor Dr. Adam Earnhardt.
The effects go beyond entertainment.
“It is also great for small business owners, non-profits, entrepreneurs, innovators,” Earnhardt said.
It also could have an impact on education.
“So a lot of universities, like the University of Phoenix and even Youngstown State University, rely on band width to deliver online education for distance education,” Earnhardt said.
Before the vote had passed, Republicans on the FCC were calling for the courts or government to overturn the ruling again.
“I think Congress will weigh in, but that often happens in something this important and this controversial,” Brown said.