Despite internet pioneers urging for a delay in the vote to repeal net neutrality, the vote has gone through and as feared by many, it has passed. Net neutrality has been repealed and the rules that regulated internet service providers will be rolled back. Internet service providers will have the opportunity to prioritize content and create tiered internet packages, just like cable companies do for TV.
In addition to net neutrality being repealed, the United States federal government will no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery which has attempted to set a standard in internet speed within the country.
According to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the rollback of regulations for the internet will help internet consumers by allowing broadband providers by promoting competition between internet service providers.
Prior to net neutrality being repealed, some internet service providers were found to be throttling access and even some services. In 2015 the FCC found AT&T to be throttling unlimited data and issued a fine of $100 million in 2016 as it went against net neutrality's 'Open Internet Transparency Rule', which has just been repealed. Verizon was accused of violating net neutrality by throttling access to videos (the case was this year and FCC did not pursue, coincidently while Pai has been chairman).
It should be noted that prior to the vote, Comcast removed their promise to never prioritize content. You can find a list of all the times internet service providers violated net neutrality (or allegedly did so) here or here.
How will you be affected?
Today, internet users will not see a change. The decision to repeal net neutrality will be taken to the courts, as many have promised to challenge the decision in court. Some state representatives in Washington state and California have promised to introduce bills to regulate the internet in their states. New York's Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has declared that he will be fighting the FCC's decision by leading a multistate lawsuit.
If nothing changes after months of court battles, content creators, those that get information offline, those that play games online, and more will likely be affected by new 'competitive' internet practices.
The following states are joining Schneiderman's lawsuit:
- North Carolina