Tomorrow, the FCC is voting on its long-awaited net neutrality rule. Everyone is hoping for a huge, enormous victory for the open Internet we all know and love. The FCC appears ready to forbid phone and cable giants (like Comcast and Verizon) from blocking websites, throttling them, or selling various slow lanes. The FCC will also build this rule on rock not sand—it will rely on its strongest legal authority known as Title II and therefore stand up in court. The devil will be in the details, but the general direction is very positive.
This vote is a complete shocker in DC. A year ago, the Internet was a dead man walking and the cable lobbyists were about to put the final bullet in its heart.
Victory was impossible even to imagine. The vote comes after at least 8 front-page news cycles, 6 expert roundtables, 4 million comments, 2 FCC computer crashes, and 1 unified policy campaign. The vote is already touted as among the biggest public interest victories in history and arguably the biggest Internet freedom victory ever. “Ever” means: this victory is even bigger than the victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012, a copyright bill that could have censored our favorite websites but went down in flames when Wikipedia, reddit, Google and others joined in an Internet-wide blackout for one day.
There are at least ten reasons why this victory is bigger than SOPA.