SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of internet regulation, which required internet service providers to offer equal access to all online content, took effect on Monday.
There are now no legal laws preventing companies from slowing access to specific sites or charging internet users new fees.
Enacted by the Obama Administration in 2015, prior guidelines prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content or from giving preferential treatment to certain websites.
Once the commission voted to repeal the rules in December, it faced a public scrutiny, social media protests, and legal challenges fronted by Democrats to combat the new legislation.
FCC chairman, Ajit Pai says the new rules will protect consumers and help promote better access to the internet.
“The bottom line is that our regulatory framework will both protect the free and open internet.” Pai wrote in his CNET op-ed. “Our goal is simple: better, faster, cheaper internet access for American consumers who are in control of their own online experience.”
So What’s Everyone Worried About?
General fear-mongering is lead with the idea of bundles in which broadband providers would begin selling the internet in small sections. Want access to Netflix and Facebook? Under a bundling system, getting those sites could require paying for a premium media package.
Another concern is the concept of pay-to-play technology – a two-tiered system where one lane has speedy service and one does not. The high-speed lane would be occupied by big internet and media companies, and affluent households that can afford them.
For everyone else there would be the slow lane.
The higher prices could be prohibitive for start-up companies and new voices in the media and entertainment world. Since social media’s boom in the early 2010’s, several platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram have created internet stars who wouldn’t have had the same opportunity to shine under a two-tiered internet system.
When Can I Expect The Internet To Change?
According to technology experts such as Brian Tibbens, Syracuse University’s Newhouse School IT Director, no time in the immediate future.
“You won’t notice it right away.” Tibbens suggested. “It’ll be slow and through the under workings before we really get introduced to any notable changes.”
States have already begun creating their own legislation to keep net neutrality in place. Monday, Washington state became the first U.S. state to impose a net neutrality law that replaces the nationwide regulations repealed by the FCC.
Washington’s legislature and governor approved the new law three months ago and arranged for it to take effect as soon as the FCC finalized its repeal.
Other states are making similar efforts.
The governors of Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey and New York have also issued executive orders to impose net neutrality rules on ISPs that provide internet service to state government agencies.
“The FCC’s dangerous ruling goes against the core values of our democracy, and New York will do everything in our power to protect net neutrality and the free exchange of ideas.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a January statement.
Beyond governors, more than 20 Democratic state attorneys general have sued the FCC in an attempt to reverse the federal repeal.