The Federal Communications Commission is set to publish its order to eliminate net neutrality rules on Thursday, Reuters reported Wednesday. "We are confident that the FCC's illegal and procedurally flawed action will be rejected". As a result of the mess the agency created, broadband providers will now have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content.
That's because once that ruling, known as the Restoring Internet Freedom order (ha!), officially drops, opponents will have something to sink their teeth into and can begin the long process of fighting the rules in court.
Several states already have laws that would enforce net neutrality, pending legislation. A bill that would preserve net neutrality principles in Washington state has cleared the House, 93-5, and is working its way through the Senate. Rep.
Public Knowledge opposes Chairman Pai's deeply troubling break with nearly 20 years of bipartisan FCC support for the Open Internet, and even more radical abandonment of FCC broadband authority. The FCC says it will "preempt any state or local measures that would effectively impose rules or requirements that we have repealed or chose to refrain from imposing in this order".
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"It is not going to end the internet as we know it", he observed (possibly while daydreaming about the contents of his giant mug). Susan Collins (R-ME) also said that she supports keeping the agency's 2015 net neutrality rules. There is also the danger of ISP-approved content and companies, which means if Verizon, for example, starts offering a service that competes against a startup (or even a tech giant, for that matter), they won't have any chance at success.
The telcos are of course putting a friendly face on the situation but how the situation plays out remains to be seen. If legal challenges (like the one being conducted by the attorney general of New York) fail to halt the repeal, USA citizens will have to wait until 2020 to vote out Trump and install a new president who will be favorable toward the return of net neutrality.
Internet service providers and wireless carriers are still bound by net neutrality rules, but only for two more months. Disappointed that this is one more anti-consumer notch on this FCC's belt, but hopeful that the arc of history is bent in the favor of Net Neutrality protection.
More: Net neutrality rules threaten to rewind the Internet back to 2014.