The FCC has sounded the bell for the end of the Internet as we all know it. The rules in place, known as net neutrality, ensure that everyone has access to the same content on the Internet.
With the repeal of FCC regulations from Obama era, the government will effectively allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to change the landscape of the Internet.
End of Free and Open Internet
As things stand now, as long as you pay for an Internet connection, you are able to access all parts of the Internet. This is the basis of net neutrality. By the scrapping protections, ISPs will be able to charge customers more money for accessing different parts of the Internet. For example, if you buy a cheaper Internet package from your ISP, it may only include regular browsing access. You might have to pay more money for access to social media sites like Facebook or video streaming like Netflix (on top of your membership with them.)
The public’s quality of access to the Internet will now be based on how much people can pay. More expensive packages, or “tiers,” versus less expensive, limited ones.
In a statement from the FCC, Chairman Ajit Pai said that “under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet.”
The debate over net neutrality has pitted telecom companies like Comcast and Verizon against Internet companies like Google and Amazon. Companies like Google fear that ISPs will control how their customers access their sites. Furthermore, deregulation allows ISPs to block or slow down access by their customers to certain parts of the Internet.
One of Facebook’s vice presidents released a statement opposing the move. “We are disappointed that the proposal announced today by the F.C.C. fails to maintain the strong net neutrality protections that will ensure the internet remains open for everyone.”
The deregulation could allow ISPs to crush their competition. Small businesses could see their Internet costs skyrocket. Furthermore, only the biggest companies, hypothetically, could afford Internet access that makes their sites function properly.