It was the news that we have all been waiting for . If you have been following my posts, back in November I posted an article titled “Net Neutrality May be coming to an End and Why You Need to Be Worried.” Well Thursday, the FCC officially repealed the 2015 Obama administration mandate that gave consumers more power over their choices in regards to internet service and what you are able to do online. ISP’s (Internet service providers) can now change your internet speeds, charge higher prices for better service or limit web capabilities altogether. According to a report from the New York Post the changes will not go into full effect for several weeks, so do not expect to see any differences in internet service just yet.
This decision has been met with plenty of resistance and outrage. A country with the freedom of the US should not have restrictions put in place over web access. The FCC believes this is good for all parties but members from some of the biggest companies in America beg to differ.
Microsoft Chief Legal officer Brad Smith went on to say “The open internet benefits consumers, business & the entire economy….That’s jeopardized by the FCC’s elimination of #netneutrality protections today.” Sheryl Sandberg who is the current Chief Operating Officer expressed “Today's decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity -- and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites,". Additionally Netflix issued a statement on the matter via twitter. "We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order."
In all, the power is no longer in the hands of the American patron when it comes to web access. On the bright side, there may be legal action coming in the near future from some of the biggest companies in the world like Netflix, Facebook and Google as well as public interest groups. The discouraging thing is that legal battles tend to be long and drawn out, therefore there is no telling when we may see a final result if this does end up in court. A bill proposing new net neutrality rules could end up in Congress but the wounds are still fresh and there is plenty that still must play out. We can all thank the FCC and chair Ajit Pai on this current new normal for internet users.