Is This The End of Net Neutrality?

March 8, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally published its decision to repeal net neutrality in the US from the Federal Register. According to the report, net neutrality will end on April 23rd of this year. This date, however, is contingent on additional paperwork being completed by the FCC.


The new repeals will do away with a rule that prohibits distributors from promoting their own content. This move was celebrated by the telecommunications industry, but it was protested by the tech industry, as well as public consumer advocacy groups.


Photo: Andrés Canchón on Unsplash  


Although the vote took place in December of last year, the official publication of this decision has allowed opposers of the vote to file complaints in the court. Many organizations, such as Mozilla, had already filed suits earlier, but have now renewed them after the FCC published this report.


The commission said in the Federal Register that they view this decision as a return “to the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop and thrive for nearly two decades.”


Some Democratic state legislators are trying to negate the effects of the FCC repeal. In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee signed a law to protect net neutrality. This law prevents “broadband providers offering service in the state from blocking or throttling legal content, or from offering fast-lane access to companies willing to pay extra.” However, the law doesn’t prevent distributors from imposing data limits, and it does not prevent distributors from allowing certain content to bypass the data limits.


The Washington bill received support from Republicans and Democrats alike, as the bill was passed 93 to 5 in the state House, and 35 to 14 in the Senate. However, the governors of New Jersey, Hawaii, Montana, and Vermont have signed executive orders than ban state agencies from working with distributors that do not uphold net neutrality, and 25 other states are thinking of passing the net neutrality bills.


How the FCC will respond to these bills is still a mystery. In a portion of the published report, it was stated that the FCC has the authority to prevent states from passing laws that are inconsistent with its net neutrality repeal.


My name is Pankhuri Kumar. I'm a 23-year old graduate student, majoring in Journalism and Computer Science. I'm a nerd about technology and hope to make the world a more informed place with data. I'm obsessed with Indian food, The Office, and Harry Potter.

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