Net Neutrality

Under the leadership of chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C) has officially repealed Net Neutrality regulations enforced by the Obama administration back in 2016. In layman terms, this move now gives broadband/Internet Service Providers the power to manage the internet according to their own interests and policies.

Regulation by the federal government for the internet, previously being treated as a necessity and utility for the American people, will now be given up and handed over to corporations to control how they offer it to millions of consumers. Companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, ATT and many more will greatly benefit from this decision by the FCC.

Just like that, three people voted in favor of repealing the rules, while the remaining two commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission voted against.

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What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality

Back in 2015, under the Obama administration, the FCC introduced regulations on broadband providers across the board in the United States. These rules basically meant that all services, apps, data and anything done on the internet must be treated as the same.

In simple words, someone watching YouTube for free should not be treated any differently in regards to speed given/bandwidth provided than someone who is paying for a premium subscription to Netflix. Without Net Neutrality, companies could be very well choosing which consumers get faster access to which services based on negotiations and backdoor agreements with those companies.

The official definition of Net Neutrality given by Wikipedia is:

“Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.”

One of the commissioners who voted against repealing Net Neutrality had the following to say, which would give you an idea of what this really means:

‘We’re handing over the keys to the internet’.

If everything moves smoothly for the FCC and the Trump Administration, ISPs around the United States will benefit from every angle of this decision. Those companies will be able to control speed throttling, service providing and charging for the use of specific apps and services instead of keeping it a free for all.

Right now, ISPs are providing internet on a monthly subscription basis. That may not be the story anymore. Access to specific services may end up costing more or less depending on which company is promoting what. Such a move will take back progress of the country and the people by decades, which could be a dark age for the internet in the US.

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What Happens Now after the FCC Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

It’s pretty obvious that the people of the United States are furious. Not only in the US, but around the world, millions are expressing their frustration on the internet, social media channels and on their own blogs. Wherever there is a discussion going on about net neutrality in the United States, you’ll see hundreds of comments of people lashing out at Ajit Pai, US President Donald Trump and the Federal Communications Commission altogether.

Twitter feeds are also full of tweets with #NetNeutrality while YouTube, Reddit, Facebook and many other platforms are going wild over what just happened.

Amazingly, this vote to repeal the net neutrality rules went through the commission despite 22 million comments were submitted to it by the general public. A vast majority of those comments were in favor of maintaining the regulations, but being under the pressure and favoritism of broadband lobbyists, Ajit Pai had something else in mind and went through accordingly.

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Involving the United States Congress and the Congressional Review Act (CRA)

Net Neutrality

One way the pro-net neutrality group is looking to have this decision overruled is through the involvement of congress. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the United States Congress is capable of stepping in and reversing the decision of any federal agency if the need arises to do so.

Congress could interfere and reverse the decision, with a limitation of needing to act within 60 legislative days of the order going into effect. This would an ideal situation, which would be tough to implement and garner support for, especially since the ISP lobbyists are hard at work to stop any such thing from happening.

Another way is to take legal action and file suit against the FCC decision to repeal net neutrality regulations. Companies like Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify and even Wikipedia have raised their concerns against what’s been going down recently and could be grouping together for a battle against the FCC.

It is worth mentioning here that Ajit Pai was nominated and appointed as chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump just 11 months ago. There is no telling why he felt the need to so quickly and in haste, revoke net neutrality regulations within such a short span of time. Especially since this scheme could end up hurting low-income families and people with the least access to it, in the biggest way.

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