To ensure fair treatment for all networks, the five-member Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3 to 2 in favor of approving the new proposal.
The new ruling comes more than a year after the federal court rejected a previous version in January 2014.
The FCC voted in favor of “net neutrality” rules that intend to restrict broadband provider’s power to control things such as download speeds on the web where providers could potentially give preference to companies that can afford to pay more. Instead, the new rules are designed to ensure Internet service providers treat all legal content equally.
The agency’s new policy includes both fixed and mobile broadband telecommunication services and gives them more authority to police various types of deals between large corporations such as Netflix and Comcast to ensure they are reasonable and just for both consumers and competitors.
They also have more authority over interconnection deals, where companies pay broadband providers to connect with their networks.
The heated debate that led up to the historic vote generated much social media stirring as well as lobbying in Washington.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, said, “”No one … should control free and open access to the Internet. It’s the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules.”
During the voting process, the two FCC Republicans did not support the ruling. They’ve created draft legislation in hopes of overturning the FCC’s plans.
Telecomm providers argue that the new tough regime will hurt consumers and stifle investments.