Thursday, December 14th the Internet as we knew ended. Okay, I’m a bit dramatic, but here’s what happened.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed its 2015 Net Neutrality agreement. This move came as no surprise as the FCC chairman Ajit Pai made announcements about its repeal early in 2017. Proponents of the repeal believe lifting these restrictions will boost innovation through competition and ultimately benefit our economy.
Naturally, not everyone agrees.
Its opponents are issuing complaints and protesting. Companies have taken to Twitter to respond. Legislative leaders have promised legal recourse, and many states are coming on board to fight this. All while you and I wait anxiously to see what will happen.
Still not sure what it’s all about? Keep reading.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net Neutrality was created to ensure all consumers received equal access to all internet content by prohibiting broadband providers from:
- Ban Paid Prioritization
- Ban Blocking
- Ban Throttling
Basically, the Net Neutrality agreement stopped Internet Service Providers (ISP) from blocking websites, prioritizing their own content over competitors, slowing down or speeding up traffic on content of any kind, and other open internet violations.
Although the 2015 regulation prohibited these things and more, questionable practices like “zero-rate” content existed with the rule in place.
Do we need Net Neutrality?
Regulations are created because everyone doesn’t act with integrity proving people and practices need to be monitored. For example in 2012, AT&T blocked FaceTime for some customers only allowing the feature for its then-new “Mobile Share” data plan users.
Without the regulation, ban prioritization, blocking, and throttling are legal as long as it’s disclosed to consumers.
Still, broadband companies will not go unmonitored. The FCC relinquished supervision to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FCC believes the FTC is better suited to monitor and investigate deceptive practices.
What should you expect?
Immediately, experts suggest nothing. It’s speculated there will be no significant changes anytime soon because everyone is watching.
However, projected impacts include:
- Companies legally paying for faster service (fast lanes)
- Tiered internet use packages for consumers
- The at-will blocking of content from any website or app
Honestly, who knows what else. The future implications are without limit, so whether the competition creates something good or bad, commit to paying attention.