The FCC (Federal Communications Commision) repeal is now in effect.

Under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency tossed out rules set in place by the previous administration that stopped ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from blocking traffic, or throttling back on traffic on the internet.  Opponents have been concerned this will create a “fast lane” for the big companies willing to pay for access and relegate the smaller companies to slow or no access.

Another fear is that ISPs could start “tiering” internet service similar to the way cable providers do:  Pay one fee for a basic internet connection, but pay extra if you want a “social tier” including Facebook and Twitter, or a “sports tier” if you want to access ESPN.

The FCC, by order, is giving up any responsibility for regulating unfair trade practices online.  They say that will be – and should always have been – up to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

“..the FCC has imposed enhanced transparency requirements. Internet service providers must publicly disclose information regarding their network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of service. These disclosures must be made via a publicly available, easily accessible company website or through the FCC’s website.  This will discourage harmful practices and help regulators target any problematic conduct.” – FCC Order

Here’s what Chairman Pai had to say today responding to the critics:


Here are just a few of the major arguments people on both sides of the issues make:

Arguments For Net Neutrality

  • No level playing field
    ISPs become the gatekeepers of the internet and customers will be their mercy, deciding which content to allow and what to block.
  • High bills or tolls
    ISPs can prioritize traffic for higher paying content providers, such as Netflix, and slow it down for providers unwilling or unable to pay.  They could also choose to create tiers to charge customers more for access to popular content.

Arguments Against Net Neutrality

  • Investment
    One of the key arguments made by those supporting the repeal is that broadband companies have been hesitant to invest in infrastructure or services since the regulations whent into effect.  By able to launch premium services can help companies recoup investment dollars quicker making them more likely to invest.
  • Priority communications
    ISPs can prioritize internet traffic, which could allow self-driving cars or medical devices to be guaranteed a higher priority than web surfing.
  • Limit government regulation

Whether you are for it or against it, the action has taken place and the rules have been repealed.  Congress could still override the FCC.  Such an effort passed the Senate, but isn’t considered likely in the House.

A University of Maryland poll (nonpartisan) in December showed nearly 83% of Americans in the survey preferred the idea of net neutrality.