Several years ago, Ajit Pai, the FCC’s chairman, agitated the entirety of the Internet by announcing the end of Net Neutrality. Rules that had kept Internet service providers from filtering what customers could and could not access or at what speeds were nixed. So many tech blogs, YouTubers, and talking heads told us that the Internet as we knew it would collapse.
Half a decade later, things are mostly the same, but our ability to post what we want and access specific platforms was hindered not by ISPs but by another source. However, that doesn’t matter much because the FCC, the same unelected agency that rolled back the 2015 Net Neutrality rules, is now voting on reestablishing said rules.
According to a story on Ars Technica, the Federal Communications Commission has reached a 3-to-2 majority that will allow Ajit Pai’s grand plan to be repealed. However, this reversal is not official yet. Public input and a vote are still required, which won’t occur until next month.
The FCC published a fact sheet for the proposal, which contained the following info:
How It Helps Consumers:
- Openness – Establish basic rules for Internet Service Providers that prevent them from blocking legal content, throttling your speeds, and creating fast lanes that favor those who can pay for access.
- Security – Reclassify broadband internet access to give the FCC and its national security partners the tools needed to defend our networks from potential security threats.
- Safety – Allow the FCC to enhance the resiliency of broadband networks and bolster efforts to require providers to notify the FCC and consumers of internet outages.
- Nationwide Standard – Establish a uniform national standard rather than a patchwork of state-by-state approaches, benefiting consumers and Internet Service Providers.
- Since the adoption of a policy statement in 2005 affirming net neutrality principles until 2018, it was the clear policy of the FCC across administrations that it would enforce open Internet standards.
- Without this authority, no federal agency can effectively monitor or help with broadband outages that threaten jobs, health, education, and safety.
- Open internet policies protect Americans’ freedom and their speech, only enshrining limits on broadband companies’ ability to limit consumer and business activities.
- The rulemaking specifically proposes to forbear from 26 provisions of Title II and more than 700 Commission rules that might pose a threat to network investment or are unnecessarily burdensome. Accordingly, policies like rate regulation and network unbundling would be strictly prohibited.
What is entertaining is that the doomsday rhetoric examples given during the repeal never materialized. Vox, for one, claimed that ISPs could charge users more based on what sites they visited. Another potential issue the outlet brought up was that not having Net Neutrality may stifle future apps and platforms. News flash: Meta’s Threads failed on its own and in record time!
This is not to say I favor repealing rules that limit what large companies can do, but in the past five years, it turned out that big tech was what we needed to keep an eye on. There is something I agree with Ajit Pai on, and that’s his statement that “The Internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone’s permission.”
Since 2015, our most significant threat to the freedom to say what we want has come under attack not from Verizon or Spectrum but from the major tech giants such as Google. It was apparent that Alphabet and others were more than willing to suppress YouTubers and social media users if their opinions contradicted certain narratives.
What do you think of the reinstatement of Net Neutrality? Let us know below.[Source: FCC]
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