After a three to two vote, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the net neutrality rules. Net neutrality prohibited internet service providers from charging for higher service quality, blocking websites, slowing down internet speed for some companies and all other injustices ISPs do. They oversaw equality in the way the internet was provided to various users. After the vote, ISPs will be able to do the above without any restrictions.
Even the federal government will no longer regulate how the service will be delivered as they do to other utilities. However, ISPs will be required to discloses practices that they will be involved in.
Below is a short clip by youtuber h3h3 explaining the issue with Net Neutrality with a somewhat sarcastic and comic tone. The video explains it pretty well.
Although it will take weeks for the reversal on net neutrality to be felt among users, this change has been met and its still facing fierce opposing forces. Protesters rallied outside the FCC’s building ahead of the vote to oppose the change. Many of them argue that reversing the net rules that were introduced back in when Obama was president of the US would make the internet less accessible and less open. Apart from protesters, the change is also facing legal challenges. “I dissent to this legally-lightweight, consumer-harming, corporate-enabling, destroying-internet freedom order,” said Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn ahead of the vote.
Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, announced he would lead the lawsuit against the FCC’s repeal. He further accused the watchdog of not investigating entirely possible abuse of the public commenting process. He even added that some dead new Yorkers were used to post comments on their site. The FCC commissioner, Mr Michael O’Reilly evened the score against the claim by saying that staff determined and discarded comments that were illegitimate.
Why repeal net neutrality rules
“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr Pai the FCC’s chairman said. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.” By that statement, Mr Pai defended the repeal even before undertaking the vote. Rolling back the rules will give way and benefit consumers. This will be possible as broadband providers would be able to offer a wider variety of options. After a three to two majority vote, the net neutrality rules were scrapped. This repeal has been the most significant thing the FCC has done under its Chairman, Mr Apai. As a chairman, he has managed to ease broadband caps, lifted media ownership limits and cut back low-income broadband programs.
FCC’s chairman remains firm and believes that this repeal will encourage innovations and also make broadband companies invest in faster connections to even rural areas. Ironically as people may see it, Ajit Pai referred to the change as “restoring internet freedom.” In another view, the vote technically classifies broadband internet as an information service and not a telecommunication service as it was before. After this, the FCC will not also regulate the ISPs. Instead, the jurisdiction will now be passed to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will be responsible for checking if there has been disclosure when the ISPs throttle or prioritize traffic, block data, and amongst other things rather than stopping them from doing so.
Net neutrality supporters have vowed to overturn the repeal by using legal means which include filing a lawsuit. Washington’s governor said his state would take its own steps to protect net neutrality. However, Ajit has proposed that states should be blocked from legislating on the matter. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey has said that he’s working on legislation that its move is to overturn the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules. “I plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution that would restore the Open Internet Order and reverse the @FCC’s historic mistake of repealing #NetNeutrality,” the Democrat said this in a tweet, alongside a copy of the first page of the resolution. “This fight is far from over.” On another note, Comcast, one of the biggest broadband providers in the US suggested the change will not be a big break. “Despite repeated distortions and biased information, as well as misguided, inaccurate attacks from detractors, our internet service is not going to change,” it said in a statement.