American’s online experiences would potentially be reshaped by the powers that have now been granted by the Federal Communications Commission to broadband companies by the removal of regulations that define the internet businesses – known better as net neutrality.
The net neutrality rules had prevented broadband providers from placing high charges for higher quality content or for specific contents and from blocking websites. Those regulations were scrapped by the agency on Friday. There would also be no regulations by the Federal government over high-speed internet in the same manner as it now regulates utility services like the phone service.
The internet is used by most Americans to communicate and this was the reason that the agency in 12015, had set those rules when the Obama administration was in power. Greater management of the broadband providers was envisioned then. The latest decision is more reflective of the point of view of the Trump administration which believes that innovation would be the ultimate outcome of unregulated business which would be beneficial for the economy.
There would not be any potential changes for U.S. consumer at this moment because it would be weeks before the repeal would get into effect. However, there would be immediate political and legal fights.
Before the voting in the agency took place, repealing of the regulations were vigorously backed by the commission’s chairman, Ajit Pai. Companies like AT&T and Comcast would be enabled to offer customers a greater range of services and therefore the repealing would ultimately be to the consumers’ benefit, the chairman said.
“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”
Ever since Mr. Pai took over as the chairman of the commission, this has been the most controversial action by the F.C.C. Earlier, low income broadband programs were cut off, the limit of broadband charges allowable for companies were eased and media ownership limited were lifted by the F.C.C. under the chairmanship of Mr. Pai.
All of the startups would now require to pay for them to be able to reach out to consumers as well as the consumers themselves would find it difficult to access content online due to the lifting of te net neutrality regulations, say critics.
“I dissent, because I am among the millions outraged,” said Mignon Clyburn, one of the Democratic commissioners. “Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”
On the other hand, the “apocalyptic” warnings from critics of the lifting were dismissed by Brendan Carr, a Republican commissioner, who termed the event as a “great day”.
“I’m proud to end this two-year experiment with heavy-handed regulation,” Mr. Carr said.
“Let’s remember why we have these rules in the first place,” said Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, the trade group. “There is little competition in the broadband service market.”
“If we don’t have net neutrality protections that enforce tenets of fairness online, you give internet service providers the ability to choose winners and losers,” Steve Huffman, chief executive of Reddit, said in an interview. “This is not hyperbole.”
(Adapted from Nytimes.com)