Who cares what the public wants? Not the FCC. In spite of the fact that 83% of Americans favor net neutrality, as The Washington Post reported last week, the FCC voted on December 14th to speed up service for websites they favor — and block or slow down others — in a decision repealing Obama-era regulations overseeing broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.
The 3-2 vote, which was along party lines, enabled the FCC's controversial Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, to follow through on his promise to repeal the government's 2015 net neutrality rules, which required Internet providers to treat all websites, large and small, equally. The agency also rejected some of its own authority over the broadband industry in an effort to stop future FCC officials who might seek to reverse the ruling.
Consumers might not feel the effects of this decision immediately. But eventually they could start to see packages and pricing that would steer them toward some content over others, critics of the FCC's vote argued.
For example, under the Obama-era rules, Verizon was not allowed to favor Yahoo and AOL, which it owns, by blocking Google or charging the search giant extra fees to connect to customers. Under the new rules, that type of behavior would be legal, as long as Verizon disclosed it.
A number of state attorneys general have said that they intend to file lawsuits to stop the FCC's reversal of net neutrality.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, challenged the public feedback process that led to the decision, alleging major irregularities in the record. Two million comments filed to the FCC on net neutrality were submitted under stolen identities, she said. Half a million came from Russian addresses, and 50,000 net neutrality complaints have gone "inexplicably missing."
So don't look for immediate changes – litigation will tie things up for a while and, I hope, ultimately restore net neutrality.
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology