Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to repeal the net neutrality rules imposed during former President Barack Obama’s administration. This roll back of the rules implemented a couple of years ago should be welcome news to mobile operators as well as Internet service providers opposing what they see at too strict federal regulation of the information superhighway.
The FCC, which now features Republican majority, voted 3 to 2 to basically eliminate the 2015 net neutrality rules. Those regulations were established to guarantee fair and equal treatment of all types of web traffic, and also helped ensure that wireless carriers and broadband service providers do not block or slow down the delivery of Internet content. For good measure, the agency also voted to scrap the legal basis in which Obama’s FCC had supervised traffic on the world wide web.
As stated by Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr, the 3-2 decision should return the FCC to its pre-2015 level of oversight of the Internet. Before the net neutrality rules were put in place two years ago, the agency had maintained a less rigid approach to regulating traffic on the interwebs, and according to Carr, that approach had worked for two decades.
It goes without saying that not everyone agreed with Carr’s stand -- Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn expressed outrage at the FCC’s decision to divest itself of the responsibility to police web traffic, and instead hand control over to the service providers that needed to be carefully regulated in the first place.
Net neutrality, or the concept of fairness and healthy competition with regards to the access and delivery of online content, has been a hotly debated topic for almost 20 years now. Advocates of net neutrality tasted victory when Obama’s administration had moved to re-classify broadband as a public utility, thereby placing it under the FCC’s supervision. Supporters of the decision (which include tech giants such as Google and Facebook, and various non-profit organizations and advocacy groups across the United States) were hoping that the reclassification would make for a faster, free-er, and more accessible Internet.
That victory would prove to be short-lived for net neutrality fans. However, for mobile operators and broadband service providers, the recent repeal of the 2015 regulations is music to their ears. These companies have always argued that the rules imposed actually hamper investment and slow down progress and innovation in the world of the Internet and information technology.
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