The US FCC Repeals Net Neutrality

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As had been widely anticipated, on Thursday, December 14, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal the net neutrality regulations put in place by the agency two years ago. Why should you care? Because if critics are right, it may hinder your ability to access your favorite social media apps, play video games, or stream movies.

Introduced by President Obama in 2015, the net neutrality law required Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Comcast to treat all Internet data equally. This meant Comcast could not throttle the speed of competitors like Netflix to make its own streaming service more desirable. Large companies could also not gain an unfair advantage over smaller ones by paying additional fees to the service providers.

Image Credit: Imgur.com

Thursday’s decision, what the FCC refers to as “Restoring Internet Freedom,” removes the restrictions and gives service providers the freedom to prioritize their own sites, apps, and streaming services. The FCC believes the repeal will shift control of the Internet from the government to the providers, allowing for more innovation and economic stimulation. Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who had always maintained the government overstepped its boundaries when they introduced the law in 2015, says, “We are helping consumers and promoting competition. Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially in underserved areas.”

Critics worry the reversal will enable ISPs to regulate internet speeds and control what consumers can access. They could potentially also censor content they do not wish customers to see. The biggest concern, however, is that broadband providers will introduce tiered internet pricing. For example, Comcast customers may have to pay more for streaming services from Netflix or Amazon, rather than Hulu, which the ISP partially owns. This means that affluent families would be able to access more services and faster Internet services than those that cannot afford to pay the higher prices.

Image Credit: Imgur.com

The service providers could also start charging companies a toll to make their content available. Should this happen, naysayers maintain it will provide an unfair advantage for larger companies like Google and Amazon and severely impact smaller businesses that cannot afford the extra cost.

Meanwhile, the ISPs are assuring consumers that they will not engage in any unfair practices. Also, the “Restoring Internet Freedom” act requires them to disclose if they do prioritize some sites or companies over others. This means their actions will be closely watched. Even if they do decide to discriminate, it will take some time before consumers feel any impact, given that the rules have to be approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which could take several months. The issue could also be tied up in courts for several years due to lawsuits filed by Attorney Generals from several states. Finally, there is the slim possibility that New York Senator Charles Schumer’s effort to get the repeal reversed under the Congressional Review Act will be approved. While no one knows what will happen next, one thing is for sure – the net neutrality debate is far from over, so stay tuned!

Resources: Newatlas.com, cnn.com, endgadget.com,wired.com

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accessaffluentanticipatedboundariesbroadbanddebatediscriminatehinderincentiveinnovationnaysayerspartiallyprioritizeregulaterepealrestrictionsstimulationstreamingthrottleunderservedunfair
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Reading Comprehension (7 questions)

  1. What did the FCC do on December 14?
  2. How could the decision impact consumers?
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“As had been widely anticipated, on Thursday, December 14, the US Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal the net neutrality regulations put in place by the agency two...

139 Comments
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  • Anonymous Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 8:22 am
    KEEP NET NEUTRALITY! THAT GUY DOES NOT CARE ABOUT WHAT AMERICANS WANT!!! SOME PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR ALL THAT STUFF!!! HOW CAN WE WATCH THINGS?!?
    • AnonymousMonday, January 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm
      Repealing net neutrality is good because it means if you use more internet you have to pay more. Thats the way of life. If you want a full pizza you have to pay more than half a pizza. If its free for everyone than internet speeds will be really slow because everyone would use a lot of internet.
      • faithiefazbear
        faithiefazbearTuesday, January 16, 2018 at 11:39 am
        That would be true if that was how it would really be. Now internet companies can actually charge you more on some websites than others, so basically they can pick and choose what websites they want to be extremely laggy and slow and absolutely terrible and cost a LOT just to be on, or fast and good and actually what it's supposed to be WITH Net Neutrality which is only costing what you pay for with ALL of the internet and not just 1 website. If it were just a case of "if you use more internet in genreal, you have to pay more" I would understand, but this is basically just a bunch of greedy, money hungry people charging more for some websites and not others.
      • No Net NovemberFriday, January 12, 2018 at 8:11 am
        Keep Net Neutrality now how are we supposed to watch stuff . I dont have that money to pay for the net.
        • bruhhhThursday, January 11, 2018 at 9:10 am
          this is boring
          • oooofThursday, January 11, 2018 at 8:36 am
            #keepNetNeutrailty
            • babydottie
              babydottieWednesday, January 10, 2018 at 8:57 am
              i think they we should keep net nutratly
              • I h8 Ajit PaiTuesday, January 9, 2018 at 9:01 pm
                Ajit Pai, why you do this.
                • momTuesday, January 9, 2018 at 1:13 pm
                  mom
                  • RustyMonday, January 8, 2018 at 9:50 am
                    So, just think on how not having net-neutrality could be fatal. Younger kiddos in 3rd to 6th grade would not be able to go on sites as much, the minimum age for minors getting jobs would have to be lowered so they could use the internet. You tubers would make way less money and digital artists could just be put out-of-job. Net Neutrality is amazing and should stay here.
                    • Max LanskyFriday, January 5, 2018 at 8:23 am
                      I like net neutrality because why should I have to pay extra for video, e-mail, gaming, and social media when it could all be the same price. Also I think that companies shouldn't have to pay for better service, and some companies can't afford to pay more.

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