Trump just said “Let’s make America great… one of the ways we can do that is by getting rid of unnecessary regulations…” That’s exactly what happened today, December 14. The FCC voted 3-2 to defeat Net Neutrality today. The vote effectively removes harsh regulations implemented during Obama’s administration that limited Internet Service Provider (ISP) abilities to regulate access to specific content. Originally, the rules were implemented to preserve freedom and limit anti-competitiveness throughout the industry – but how they played out was much different. Many experts and ISPS have said that the strict guidelines prevented them from creating more affordable Internet packages. The guidelines also made it effectively impossible for states to set their own rules.
Key Facts in Net Neutrality Repeal
- The removal of Net Neutrality regulations now makes it possible for individual states to craft their own Internet guidelines. States will no longer have to answer to the FCC if they decide to open up or privatize the internet, restoring state freedom of choice.
- Google, Netflix, Twitter, and a veritable slew of politicians all across the country are swearing to continue the fight for Net Neutrality all the way to court. Netflix called the FCC order “misguided,” while Google committed to “work with other Net Neutrality supporters” in an effort to restore regulations.
- The The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the statement a “mistake,” accusing the FCC of abandoning its duty to protect and open and free Internet. The EFF also believes the “FCC essentially ignored the facts, the law, and the public,” calling the vote arbitrary.
- Several Senators, including Senate Subcommittee on Communications member Senator Brian Schatz and Senator Patrick Leahy, were harshly critical of the vote results. Schatz cautioned that, “…there are no longer any rules in place to stop internet service providers from changing the internet as we know it. They are now free to block apps, slow websites, or even limit access to certain kinds of content.” Leahy called it, “…a rushed, cynical and slipshod process that has been fundamentally flawed.”
- Despite strong opposition from so many people, there is little to no evidence that removing Net Neutrality will have a significant impact on America’s access. Detractors believe that Net Neutrality regulations were the only thing stopping ISPs from packaging out Internet access in the same way as cable. ISPs claim that packaging services will increase access for low-income Americans and make the Internet more accessible.
- Whether you agree with Net Neutrality or not, one thing is certain: the vote does not mark the end of the “fight.” Hundreds of organizations and politicians are making preparations to sue the FCC for the removal over the next few months. It is possible that Net Neutrality will return, once again restricting ISPs and states from having the freedom to choose what their viewers see.
- Interestingly, during the discussion, security insisted that everyone leave the room and step out into the lobby, leaving all of their belongings where they were. Once everyone left, live cameras captured footage of the security team doing a sweep of the room, complete with security dogs. There was no mention of why the room was cleared or being searched.
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How do you feel about the repeal of net neutrality? Do you expect it to make your online experience better or worse?