New rules aimed at prohibiting broadband providers from becoming gatekeepers of Internet traffic now have just enough votes to pass the Federal Communications Commission today. The new "net neutrality" rules would prohibit phone and cable companies from abusing their control over broadband connections to discriminate against rival content or services, such as Internet phone calls or online video, or play favorites with Web traffic.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski now has the three votes needed for approval, despite firm opposition from the two Republicans on the five-member commission. Genachowski's two fellow Democrats said yesterday they will vote for the rules, even though they consider them too weak. Public interest groups also say the new rules don't go far enough, complaining that the "fake net neutrality" proposal has far too many loopholes, including one giving wireless carriers much more scope to manage data traffic than fixed-line carriers.