“Today, for the first time, we are adopting rules to preserve basic internet values,” Genachowski said. “For the first time, we’ll have enforceable rules of the road to preserve internet freedom and openness.”

Public-interest groups said the FCC and the Obama administration have missed an opportunity to establish long-lasting rules that would prevent corporations from controlling internet access.

Craig Aaron, director of Free Press, a nonprofit organization that lobbies for greater regulation of web service providers, said the FCC passed “industry-written rules that will for the first time in internet history allow discrimination online.”

“These rules don’t do enough to stop the phone and cable companies from dividing the internet into fast and slow lanes, and they fail to protect wireless users from discrimination,” Aaron said. “No longer can you get to the same internet via your mobile device as you can via your laptop.”

Aaron said Genachowski “ignored policy makers who urged him to protect consumers and maintain the internet as a platform for innovation. It’s unfortunate that the only voices he chose to listen to were those coming from the very industry he’s charged with overseeing.”

Republican outcry was just as loud after the FCC’s vote, as conservative groups and lawmakers derided that net-neutrality rules amounted to an unneeded government intrusion into the private sector.

Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, plans to introduce a “resolution of disapproval” to try to overturn what she called “troubling regulatory overreach by the FCC.”

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the FCC’s rules “rest on the fallacy that government action is needed to ensure a vibrant, innovative internet.”

“In reality, today’s internet is as free and innovative as ever, while consumer choice among broadband providers is at an all-time high,” he said in a Dec. 20 statement. “Even the ‘limited’ net-neutrality rules set to be announced tomorrow would empower a heavily politicized federal agency to dictate the outcomes of otherwise-private disputes over network access and pricing.”


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