The FCC voted to repeal Obama-era net neutrality laws protecting a free and open internet
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to repeal Net Neutrality Laws, a move that will dismantle rules that currently stop internet service providers from being able to influence loading speeds for certain websites or apps. The Republican-majority FCC handed down the decision, which could ultimately reverse Obama-era regulations that protect a free and open internet.
The Net Neutrality rules were put in place in 2015 and they banned cable and internet providers from being able to block or slow the loading speeds of certain websites over others. It also stopped them from being able to prioritize sites that struck special deals with them. FCC chairman Ajit Pai, appointed earlier this year, made it a goal from the start to reverse net neutrality laws. Today’s vote, passing at 3-2, is the first step in accomplishing it.
Advocates of a free and open internet hope that Congress will halt the FCC’s ruling from taking effect under the Congressional Review Act. Without that action, the reversal of the current net neutrality laws will occur after a review by the Office of Management and Budget.
Some argue that before 2015, the internet was just fine and dandy with internet service providers keeping things as fair and open as they currently are. But that’s simply not true.
What does a world without #NetNeutrality look like?
We already know. We can't go back. #BreakTheInternet pic.twitter.com/XXFEOXRiC0
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 12, 2017
Pai was quoted saying, “the internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We weren’t living in a digital dystopia” while conveniently brushing aside past instances like those listed above where ISPs blocked certain content. Without net neutrality regulations in place, we can expect ISPs to do plenty worse in the way of preventing customers from seeing certain content or even charging more to access certain sites. These rules protected that from happening and now they’re in peril if Congress doesn’t put a stop to it.
Twitter is being very vocal about the potential pitfalls of net neutrality ending with everyone from Netflix to Bernie Sanders weighing in.
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Today the @FCC eliminated its #NetNeutrality rules. That's bad. But here's what's good: This misguided decision awoke a sleeping giant–the American people. And we're going to keep fighting. In court. In Congress. And we won't stop until internet openness is the law of the land.
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) December 14, 2017
BREAKING: The FCC just voted to dismantle #netneutrality. This represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 14, 2017
This is an egregious attack on our democracy. The end of #NetNeutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder. When our democratic institutions are already in peril, we must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect. https://t.co/8GGrJFMdrU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 14, 2017
So what's next for #NetNeutrality?
1. Congress can still overturn the vote with a majority decision.
2. It can still go to court and be stopped there.
3. Individual states can still implement safeguards – WA and CA have already started.
4. I hear Canada and England are nice.
— Jesse (@FairlightEx) December 14, 2017
3 people voted to hand the internet over to corporations.
3 people accountable to no one and with conflicts of interests tied to corporations.
3 people voted against what 80% of Americans wanted.
This is the definition of a plutocracy#NetNeutrality
— Ali A Olomi (@aaolomi) December 14, 2017
Wow America I feel sorry for you guys. Luckily I have a solution to #NetNeutrality all you have to do is
See full Tweet for $9.99/Month
— Jake Greenlees (@JacobGreenlees_) December 14, 2017
It’s important to note that net neutrality isn’t really a partisan issue — a recent survey by the University of Maryland found that 83 percent of Americans, across all parties, favor keeping current net neutrality laws intact. What happened today is literally three men deciding the future of the internet for millions of Americans. Nothing about it is fair or right.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, one of the two women who voted against repealing the current regulations, made closing remarks after the hearing today that are both chilling and hopeful. “What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you,” she says. “But what I am pleased to be able to say today is that the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. The agency does not have the final word. Thank goodness for that.”
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's closing remarks before the 3-2 vote to repeal Obama-era #NetNeutrality rules:
"What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you." pic.twitter.com/HgJm36id4s
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 14, 2017