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18 Jun

The Repeal of Net Neutrality Invites Skeptics and Open Possibilities

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Net Neutrality Ruling

The Net Neutrality, a ruling that was set by the US government in the past, had required major internet service providers to treat web traffic without giving preferential treatment to a particular website. In other words, internet providers should not block a website or throttle speeds to make surfing a different website much easier.

The Net Neutrality ruling is now repealed, following a campaign favoring the deregulation from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I think ultimately it’s going to mean better, faster, cheaper internet access and more competition among the carriers,” Pai said.

Those favoring Net Neutrality and disagreeing with Pai include Congress members, officials of certain states, tech firms, and some advocacy groups. They will challenge the Net Neutrality repeal in federal court, while many US states plan to implement their own set of laws, which may further muddle the situation.

The Net Neutrality ruling of 2015 prevented internet providers from slowing down web connections, charging content providers for quicker streaming of videos over the web, and blocking accesses to specific websites. Starting this month, such practices will not be prohibited.

For now, internet service providers have to inform how they are managing their own networks. If any of the ISPs violate promises, or show practices that threaten consumers or competition, they fall under FTC’s jurisdiction. When FCC adopted the repeal back in December, Ajit Pai and his allies from the Republican Party argued that Net Neutrality would free the heavy regulations that restricted Telco giants from investing toward expansion of broadband.

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However, Democrats charged that the Chairman of FCC had ignored millions of comments that flooded from all quarters, especially the internet. Many of those comments had urged FCC to keep the previous ruling on Net Neutrality, which had treated internet providers similar to public utilities.

Aji Pai commented that people who reverted to online vitriol were misinformed, and that “some of the politicians who’ve been grandstanding on this issue have been misinforming the public.” In particular, the FCC Chairman said that the politicians were Senate Democrats, or social media influencers with millions of followers, who tweeted that repealing Net Neutrality would immobilize web speeds.

Reports say that a few ISPs have acknowledged that they would not block websites or throttle speeds or charge for quicker delivery of content over the web, although they might take advantage of the Net Neutrality repeal.

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