The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules put in place in the United States under former President Obama’s administration. The decision to repeal the original rules means that ISPs will now be re-classified as “information service” providers rather than “common carriers”.
The former rules, which classified ISPs as “common carriers” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, prevented providers of Internet services in the United States, such as AT&T and Comcast, from throttling service speeds or preventing access to specific access through blocking tactics such as paywalls.
The 3-2 vote to remove these rules – which was backed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Republicans Michael O’Reilly and Brendan Carr – essentially strips away the Title II designation, which means that those Internet providers are largely free to do and operate however they see fit with very few rules in place.
In fact, according to reports, the only real rule that these companies will have to adhere to is that they will need to be transparent about what they are going to do and actually announce it to consumers. Some of those in favor of the changing of the rules, which includes FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, argue that the Internet wasn’t broken two years ago and that the imposed Net Neutrality rules weren’t actually needed back then.
However, even with those rules in place certain companies still had the audacity to throttle speeds and block access to competing content, even though those acts were technically against the rules. Now that those rules have been eradicated, making the arena a free-for-all, those companies will be perfectly able to extend those practices however they see fit.
Opinion is going to be split on this matter. That’s for sure. Some of those involved in the process, such as the aforementioned FCC Chairman, don’t believe the original rules introduced in 2015 were actually necessary. Whereas others, such as Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel who opposed the change, suggests that the FCC is now on the “wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.” It’s Rosenworcel’s belief that this decision gives Internet providers the go-ahead to “discriminate and manipulate your Internet traffic.”
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