The Columbia University Law professor who coined the term “net neutrality” back in 2003, hailed today's FCC’s decision that assures open access to the internet.
“I think it is a vote that guarantees the continued and historic openness of the Internet,” Tim Wu said to NBC News. “For the consumer, that means it will continue to be where new things come from. For business, it remains the easiest place to start a business.”
The FCC vote to adopt a policy of net neutrality was decided by a slim 3-2 vote that was sharply divided along ideological lines. Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel, Mignon Clyburn and Chairman Tom Wheeler approved the rule that makes consumer broadband a utility under Title II of the Communications Act. Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Ajit Pai, who have taken strong pro-business and GOP stances on the issue, dissented saying the FCC was overstepping its authority.
Wu has long advocated for the commission to use its Title II authority to protect creating prioritization of access for different services and companies on the internet.
“I hope that the issue will now remain out of politics -- like the national parks or something,” he said. “But that may be wistful thinking.”
Wu believed the idea of "net neutrality" would negate potentially discriminatory internet practices, and said he has no regrets about coining a phrase some have found confusing over the years.
“People say it’s confusing and yet somehow millions of Americans found themselves motivated to write to the Commission,” Wu said in an interview with Re/Code last year. “The issues surrounding Internet discrimination and Internet carriage require putting a little time in. Ultimately it’s not that hard. People understand the idea of discrimination.”