Federal Communications Commission will vote on future of Net Neutrality
On Dec. 14 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote on the future of net neutrality, and the decisions made can impact the way Americans use the internet.
Net neutrality allows users to access content on the internet without their internet service or broadband provider blocking their access, according to CNET.
Under net neutrality it is expected that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will provide networks in which users openly send unbiased information.
The rules of net neutrality ensure that network providers do not slow down and speed up certain forms of communication that are tied to their competitors or favor their collaborators. This enables an unbiased form of communication and internet usage as per the users preferences.
Under the current government administration, the FCC will be voting on potentially repealing the previously implemented standards of net neutrality, according to Business Insider.
The standards that will be addressed later this week were originally put into place under the Obama administration in 2015. The rules include barring “ISPs from blocking, slowing or providing preferential treatment to particular sites and services,” according to the site.
As addressed in a TechCrunch article, millions of people have expressed their concern over this potential repeal. As a last resort attempt, 21 well-known technology heads have co-written a letter expressing their concern addressed to two senators and two members of congress.
Authors of the letter include the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Wozniak and the executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker. Other tech giants and pioneers in the field join together to help protect net neutrality.
The authors simultaneously urge politicians to cancel the planned vote on Dec.14 while also criticizing the FCC for their lack of transparency during meetings and their ignorance towards the millions of public letters in regards to the matter.
“Over 23 million comments have been submitted by a public that is clearly passionate about protecting the Internet. The FCC could not possibly have considered these adequately,” according to the letter.
According to Business Insider, the repeal stems from the motivations of certain telecommunications and content companies. Giants such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon already play a role in how consumers are connecting with the internet. Repealing net neutrality rules could allow them to govern what users see and do online.
This would be advantageous to the companies because they could potentially favor sites and services under their rule or ownership and inhibit content from rival services.
Such a system implies that the internet would no longer be the “open network” that Americans have been used to for so long, which lead to less choice for consumers and potentially higher prices.
The text explains how the negative outcomes of their vote could potentially have long term effects on the discrimination the repeal allows.
“The proposed order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers,” according to the letter.