The FCC has voted 2-1 to repeal net neutrality rules originally put in place by the Obama administration as reported by Reuters.
The vote took place on Thursday, May 18, 2017. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly voted in favor of advancing the efforts to remove the rules. Democrat Mignon Clyburn was the dissenting vote. This doesn’t mean that net neutrality is dead, but the process is underway. The vote intends to undo the reclassification of internet service providers as utilities, a move that the Republican members of the FCC voting panel considered to be overly restrictive. As a result of the vote, stocks of ISPs rose on Thursday.
Internet providers AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast opposed the 2015 order that began the process of codifying net neutrality. They insist that they will not engage in any sort of blocking or throttling in the absence of regulations. ISPs including Charter Communications, Comcast, and others have signed an advertisement committing to an open Internet.
We’re not at the end just yet – this is just one of many stages in the process to creating or changing rules at the Federal Communications Commission as detailed by TechCrunch. First, a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making is issued. It sets out the goals of what the commission would like to do and seeks comments and additional data on the matter; this is the point we’re at now. Following this, a three-month comment period where people can express their support for or opposition to the proposed rule takes place, although the FCC is under no obligation to give the comments any credence. A vote then takes place on whether or not to implement the rule as drafted; should it pass, a date is set for the rule to take effect. It’s at this point that any lawsuits challenging the legality of the rule can be brought to bear.
The FCC has already received over 1 million public comments on the matter and is continuing to receive them. Aside from the net neutrality issue, the FCC is also seeking comment as to whether or not individual states should be able to establish their own regulations that cover Internet privacy and other related issues. If you’d like to file a comment of your own, you can follow this handy-dandy guide provided by TechCrunch to get it done.
ISPs are promising that they won’t throttle or otherwise mess with your traffic if there aren’t any government regulations. Seems a bit strange that they would oppose regulations that would prevent them from doing something that they’re saying they wouldn’t ever do. In other news, a hungry lion would like you to turn around for just a moment, and he totally promises – pinky swear! – that he won’t eat your fleshy bits.
What do you think of the FCC voting to repeal the net neutrality rules? Do you think that ISPs would honor any commitments to not throttling or otherwise shaping traffic in absence of government regulation? How do you think the vote will ultimately turn out? Let us know in the comments below!