WASHINGTON�The FCC voted on Thursday to regulate high-speed Internet connectivity as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, using Title II of the Telecommunications Act. �The Title II classification comes from the phone company era, treating service as a public utility.
Mobile data service for smartphones and tablets, in addition to wired lines, is being placed under the new rules. The order also includes provisions to protect consumer privacy and to ensure that Internet service is available to people with disabilities and in remote areas. Tom Wheeler, the Commission Chairman, said the FCC was using �all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers� while preserving the Internet�s role as a �core of free expression and democratic principles,� according to the New York Times.�
The impact of the new rules will depend upon details that are not yet known�since they will not be published until next week. �Lawsuits to challenge the Commission�s order are widely expected, which could delay their implementation for months, if not years.��