In a 3-2 vote today, the Federal Communications Commission approved to dismantle net neutrality rules that were put in place two years ago. These rules prevented internet providers from throttling and blocking traffic and prevented from offering paid fast lanes. Net neutrality rules also classified internet providers as Title II common carriers, but all of this is now undone due to the dismantling of net neutrality rules.
Due to the fact that Title II designation being removed, this even prevents the FCC from putting in tough future net neutrality rules in place even if it decided to in the future. The new rules that will be put in place won’t prevent internet providers from doing anything. They are essentially free to do whatever they can, such as block, throttle, and even prioritize content, should they choose to. The only thing that companies will be required to do is publicly state what they plan to do.
Commission chairman Ajit Pai said that “The internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We were not living in some digital dystopia.” Opponents of net net neutrality have said that these rules were never needed in the first place. “The main problem consumers have with the internet is not and has never been that their internet provider is blocking access to content. It’s been that they don’t have access at all.”
Supporters of net neutrality for a long time have said that without such rules in place, internet providers will be able to do whatever they want, control all internet traffic, and act in anti-competitive ways. Many ISPs now even own content companies, and will take advantage of their own content to get more customers signed up and overall benefit themselves.
Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the Democrats that voted for net neutrality on the commission, said that today’s vote was “rash decision” that puts the FCC “on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.” Rosenworcel says that this vote gives internet providers the “green light to go ahead” and “discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic.” The other commissioner, Clyburn, said that today’s vote are “particularly damning … for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate.” Clyburn further said that no one will be able to stop internet providers from doing whatever they want.