The FCC just released their final draft of its proposal to completely destroy net neutrality, once and for all. The final proposal will remove nearly every net neutrality rule that’s currently in place. Internet providers will be free to do whatever they like, such as experiment with slow and fast internet lanes, prioritizing their own traffic over others, and blocking apps and services. The only rule left that here is that ISPs will have to publicly disclose when they will be doing these things.
In the final proposal, the commission calls the 2015 net neutrality ruling as a “misguided and legally flawed approach.” There is repetition of the 2015 orders being “incorrect,” and came to “erroneous conclusions.” By removing these rules, the commission has paved the way for ISPs to do whatever they like. They argue that removing these rules will “facilitate critical broadband investment and innovation by removing regulatory uncertainty and lowering compliance costs.”
The proposal also adds the fact that consumer protections aren’t necessary needed because Federal Trade Commission will now have the authority oversight of ISPs. The proposal states that “The transparency requirement we adopt, together with antitrust and consumer protection laws, ensures that consumers have means to take remedial action if an ISP engages in behavior inconsistent with an open internet.”
FCC has made it clear that blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization are okay with them, but are subject to still answer to the FTC, and that they may or may not be okay with such behaviors. FTC will not have to at the bare minimum accept those behaviors. Net neutrality supporters have states that these policies not being in place will give ISPs too much control and advantage for their own content. The FCC, in its defense, says that it thinks that won’t likely happen because some web companies are so much more wealthier than ISPs. “It is unlikely that any ISP, except the very largest, could exercise market power in negotiations with Google or Netflix,” the proposal says. The proposal argues that the deals ISPs have with larger companies will also need to be consistent with antitrust laws.
Basically, the current antitrust law is the answer for FCC. They don’t want to write their own rules, and just refer to the current antitrust laws for any problem that comes up. They’re saying that why should they write new laws when there’s already federal laws in place to help cover such issues. FCC doesn’t take into account at the fact that federal antitrust law isn’t used very aggressively, but FCC on the other hand could strictly enforce certain behaviors.
The FCC has also stated that they intent to prevent states from passing their own net neutrality laws. If FCC allowed states to implement their own net neutrality rules, the commission says, that it “could pose an obstacle to or place an undue burden” on delivery for broadband services. The FCC will vote on the final proposal next month at the commission’s December 14th meeting. It’s almost certain that the proposal will pass.