WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 on Thursday to regulate Internet service as a public utility, a victory for net neutrality that prevents the advent of Internet traffic manipulation.
In the rules to "protect the open Internet," cable companies will not be allowed to charge websites more for faster loading times and no content will be blocked. The rules will also apply to data services for mobile devices.
"Today, the Commission -- once and for all -- enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future," the FCC said in a statement. "These new rules are guided by three principles: America's broadband networks must be fast, fair and open."
The Internet will be classified as a telecommunications service instead of of an information service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.
"The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free open access to the Internet," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said.
The two opposing votes, by Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, stemmed from the belief that the FCC was overstepping its authority and interfering with commerce.
Pai accused the commissioners of supporting the new rules "because President Obama told us to."
The FCC received more than 4 million comments regarding net neutrality.