Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Thursday to repeal the net neutrality rules established during the Obama era.
These regulations required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content without charging consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites. These net neutrality rules went into effect in 2015 and laid out a plan that addressed a rapidly changing internet. Under those regulations, broadband service was considered a utility under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the F.C.C. broad power over internet providers.
After the vote on Thursday, these are the rules that have been repealed:
A. BLOCKING: Before, internet service providers could not discriminate against any lawful content by blocking websites or apps.
B. THROTTLING: Service providers will now be able control the speed of transmission of data based on the nature of the content.
C. PAID PRIORITIZATION: Consumers may have to pay premium prices for different packages of content for access.
Many concerns have risen regarding the end of net neutrality.
Consumer advocates argue that broadband providers will begin selling the internet in bundles, or packages. For example, if you want to access Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you would be required to pay for a premium social media package. Another major concern is that consumers could be victims of biased distribution of data. This means that consumers who are subscribed to more services get faster data and others get slower data. This could lead to domination of the internet by major media players and businesses, and affluent households, leaving majority of the users on the slow lane, which will also have an impact on small businesses and e-commerce startups.
“The internet, the speed of it, our entire business revolves around that,” said David Callicott, who sells paraffin-free candles on his website, GoodLight. Remote workers such as freelancers and franchisees could also face higher costs to do their jobs from home.