The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and reclassification would enable it to impose the same restrictions on broadband providers as traditional cable companies.
Net neutrality rules have been in place for decades to protect consumers and prevent Internet providers from favoring certain Web services over others.
However, the FCC has said that net neutrality does not apply to broadband providers and that ISPs are not allowed to discriminate against content.
Net-neutrality advocates and others, however, argue that broadband providers are not only able to discriminate but can also favor certain Web content over others, including paid TV, and that the FCC should reclassize broadband as another telecommunications service.
The FCC’s vote, which came in favor of reclassifying broadband, comes just two days before the FCC is set to vote on reclassifications of traditional telecommunications services and other Internet services, which will be debated in an open meeting.
The commission is scheduled to vote this month on reclassified telecommunications services.