Supporters of the idea of net neutrality got a big victory earlier today. The National Review reports that an effort to overturn the Federal Communication Commission's new rules on the subject was stopped in the US Senate. The effort was led by Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison but in the end the Democrat controlled Senate voted down Senator Hutchison's measure.
The FCC actually approved the rules back in December 2010 but it wasn't until September when the rules were made official. The regulations go in effect on November 20 and prevent Internet service providers from restricting access to web sites based on specific content. Hutchinson and other Republican law makers have opposed the new rules, claiming that ISPs would be subject to new and unnecessary regulations if the rules went forward.
Supporters of the net neutrality rules feel differently, saying that businesses that rely on ISPs will now no longer have to worry about access to their products being restricted with throttling by broadband providers.
While overbearing regulations by a government agency can be a detriment sometimes, it looks like this particular effort doesn't really qualify for that kind of treatment by its opponents. What if you were suddenly unable to access Netflix or Google or YouTube because your ISP restricted access to it? While the new FCC rules say that ISPs have the right to slow down overall speeds on their networks, allowing them to pick which web sites and services can be accessed gets into First Amendment issues.