In this process of killing net neutrality, the vote was 3 to 2. Along the party lines, Republican Commissioners voted in favor of the order; Democratic Commissions voted against the same. While Pai titled his order as “Restoring Internet Freedom,” Democrat Mignon Clyburn said it should be called “Destroying Internet Freedom.”
Now, broadband won’t be classified as a Title II service. As a result of this change, FFC won’t be acting as an active regulator of the broadband industry, allowing the companies to throttled or block websites/content as per their wish. The rich technology players would be able to avail services like paid prioritization. However, ISPs will need to disclose such practices.
That’s not all. Now, American states won’t be able to override the new order with their own legislation.
“The Internet is the greatest free market innovation in history. What is responsible for the phenomenal development of the Internet? It certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation,” Pai said before vote, according to Ars Technica. “Following today’s vote, American consumers will still be able to access the websites they want to visit,” he added.
“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency. They will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content,” Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said.
“They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road,” she added.
“Maybe several providers will quietly roll out paid prioritization packages that enable deep-pocketed players to cut the queue. Maybe a vertically integrated broadband provider decides that it will favor its own apps and services. Or some high-value Internet-of-things traffic will be subject to an additional fee. Maybe some of these actions will be cloaked under non-disclosure agreements and wrapped up in mandatory arbitration clauses so that it will be a breach of contract to disclose these publicly or take the provider to court over any wrongdoing. Some may say, “Of course, this will never happen.” After today’s vote, what will be in place to stop them?” Clyburn continued.
This development means that a new and bigger fight has just started. But, not everything’s lost. You can expect different lawsuits heading to courts in near future. Also, Congress has the power to pass a law and make things right.
What are your views on this Net neutrality vote? What should be the future course of action? Share your views and become a part of the discussion.