Government Seizing Control of Internet

Without a vote by Congress, of course. That’s not the Obama way.

The Federal Communications Commission is about to usher in the most dramatic government intervention in the Internet in two decades — heralding a liberal shift toward greater oversight of one of the nation’s most important economic engines.

Majority Democrats at the agency are expected to vote Thursday to approve FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality plan, which will regulate broadband like a public utility to ensure all Web traffic is treated equally. They’re also poised to encourage towns and cities to compete with the dominant telecom companies in providing Internet service to consumers.

Taken together, the two moves, which are vehemently opposed by the FCC’s two Republican members, represent a seismic shift in the relationship between the government and the companies that run the Internet — and mark the biggest change to communications policy since the 1996 Telecom Act.