The FCC has killed net neutrality. In a 3-2 vote last night, the Federal Communications Comission approved to remove net neutrality rules.
Over the past couple of weeks users across the Internet in the United States have been rallying against the FCC’s plan to overturn net neutrality rules put in place back in 2015. These rules prevented Internet providers from picking and choosing which traffic to prioritised as well as offering fast-lanes to content owned by the provider and its parent companies.
Last night however the FCC voted to remove all of these rules which has, of course, angered many users. In fact, comments by consumers revealed that over 80% wanted the vote to be scrapped completely as they did not agree with the FCC’s proposal. Now, Internet Service Providers will have the ability to block, throttle, and prioritise content if they so wish, all they’re required to do now is publicly state that they’re going to do it… lovely.
So where do things go from here? Well, the good news is that things won’t change overnight, and those in support of net neutrality are almost certainly going to sue the commission in an attempt to overturn their decision. Apparently, while the FCC can change its mind, it isn’t allowed to change rules for “arbitrary and capricious” reasons. Basically, The FCC will have to prove that the Internet has changed since 2015 – when the rules were first put in place.
This is when things become pretty sketchy. The FCC will also have to use evidence from the comments of the consumer to back up its plan to scrap the rules, of which the commission received a record-breaking 22 million comments. However, it’s been revealed by the commission that over 7.5 million were spam using the identities of the American public. Of course, the commission is refusing to look into things in more detail.
Adding to this, the commission has also publicly stated that they’re not interested in most public comments, despite the requirement to accept and consider them. They’ve also stated that they only value legal arguments, so there’ll likely be many complaints that public opinion is being ignored.
It’s currently looking likely that these rules, or lack thereof, will be coming into place in a few months. During this time, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in terms of lawsuits and oppositions.