Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to undo the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama Administration in 2015.
The regulations defined the internet as a public utility and prevented internet service providers from charging more money, blocking access to sites at their discretion, and picking and choosing the content people can see online.
But with these rules set to be repealed in 2 weeks, all that could change.
We might be looking at a new era of internet
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says reversing net neutrality will help consumers and promote competition by giving service providers like Comcast “more incentive to build networks.”
But critics argue that the barrier of entry into telecommunications — which includes installing millions of cables and poles — is too high for new competition to enter the market and that it will only strengthen the oligopoly of Comcast and AT&T.
One thing is clear: these internet gatekeepers will no longer be barred from slowing down content — and they can now charge popular websites like Netflix and Facebook more money for faster delivery.
We do have one thing on our side: opposition is tremendous
A recent University of Maryland survey showed that 83% of Americans opposed the FCC’s repeal.
In the internet’s social hubs — Reddit, Facebook, Twitter — hundreds of thousands of people are standing up against the ruling: 1.2m calls to Congress have been placed through pro-net neutrality site, Battle for the Net, and 2m+ more have signed petitions on Change.org.
And on the legal front, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has already announced a multi-state lawsuit challenging the vote.
What else can be done to reverse this decision?
The FCC’s ruling is really just the beginning of a protracted legal and political battle: the future of the internet won’t be determined so easily.
Congress could respond to our calls for action by invoking the Congressional Review Act and petitioning for a reversal. The nation’s federal courts could also issue a stay on the ruling and pick apart the “substantive errors” in the FCC’s decision.
Long story short: if you feel the ruling is wrong…