The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules, which required internet service providers (ISPs) to offer equal access to all web content, has officially taken effect on Monday. Net neutrality was repealed in December of last year. Upon hearing the news, the FCC was met with public rage, legal challenges from state attorneys general, public interest groups, and resistance from Democratic lawmakers to overturn the decision. People opposing this decision argued that the repeal would lead to service providers censoring content and charging more for higher quality service. Steps have been taken on a more local level to impose neutrality rules by several states.
Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman, who has been in opposition of net neutrality, argued that net neutrality impeded innovation, claiming that net neutrality rules were based on “hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom.” He also states that repealing net neutrality was good for consumers since it restored the Federal Trade Commission’s authority over internet service providers.”
“In 2015, the F.C.C. stripped the F.T.C. — the nation’s premier consumer protection agency — of its authority over internet service providers. This was a loss for consumers and a mistake we have reversed,” Says Ajit Pai.
Net neutrality rules prevented ISPs from doing certain things. These actions include the prevention of discriminating against any lawful content by blocking websites or apps, protection from slowed transmission of data due to the nature of the content given it was legal,and paid prioritization, which prevented ISPs from creating an “express” lane for companies and consumers who paid more and a slow lane for those who refused to pay premium rates.
Net neutrality rules were originally put in place by former president Barack Obama and his administration in 2015.
According to the FCC, “Removing these outdated and unnecessary regulations will create a strong incentive for companies to pour resources into building better online infrastructure across the country and bringing faster, better, and cheaper Internet access to more Americans.”