The fight to preserve net neutrality reached a bitter end on Monday, June 11, as the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) passed the ironically-named Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The rules that prohibited internet service providers from throttling internet speeds or actually blocking access to some websites are now gone, replaced by a simple rule – the ISPs simply have to publicly disclose their Internet traffic actions, while the Federal Trade Commission headed by Ajit Pai can decide if their actions aren’t being anti-competitive.
A legacy of President Barack Obama, net neutrality rules required ISPs to provide equal access to all web content.
With them now gone, the future of the Internet looks grim.
“Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road,” explained Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission who voted against the repeal.
Fortunately, some states like Washington and New York have taken measures to ensure the rules stay in place. In total, 28 state legislatures are working on bills designed to maintain net neutrality. On the other side of the fence, Ajit Pai is seen gloating and still maintains that the death of net neutrality is a good thing.
“In the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the FCC strengthened its transparency rule so that internet service providers must make public more information about their network management practices. They are required to make this information available either on their own website or on the FCC’s website. This information will allow consumers to make an informed decision about which internet service provider is best for them and give entrepreneurs the information they need as they develop new products and services. Our transparency rule will also help ensure that any problematic conduct by internet service providers is quickly identified and corrected.”