Yesterday, the hotly debated net neutrality laws were officially killed off by the FCC. These laws, which were first enacted in 2015 during the Obama administration, were designed to protect the interests of internet users across the nation. While the net neutrality laws did not stop broadband companies from tracking online activity, like a cell phone spy, it did prevent them from taking advantage of customers in other ways. More specifically, broadband companies could not prioritize internet speeds, block access to certain sites, or otherwise discriminate their service in any way. In essence, these laws ensured that all internet users would be treated equally.
While yesterday marked the official end of the net neutrality laws, supporters are still hopeful for the future.
The Long Road Ahead
There are several things net neutrality supporters are doing to protect internet user rights. To start, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the FCC in regards to the removal of the laws. Several states have also accused the FCC of violating federal regulations throughout the removal process. Meanwhile, the Senate is only one vote away from forcing a repeal of the laws that replaced net neutrality. Unfortunately, the repeal is unlikely to pass. That being said, the best chance lies with the 23 states that are looking to ratify their own net neutrality laws. This could potentially end up being an even bigger headache for broadband companies. They’ll have to navigate 23 different sets of rules and regulations rather than one nationwide law.
While net neutrality has officially been retracted, it will take several more weeks for the rollback process to be completed. Don’t expect any huge changes to happen overnight; the big broadband companies know the spotlight is still on them. So it’ll likely be months, if not years, before any major policy changes are enacted. For now, it seems there won’t be any fast/slow lanes or blocked websites in the near future.
What are your thoughts on the removal of the net neutrality laws? Do you think the internet will be fine without them? Let us know in the comments below.