When Was Net Neutrality Repealed? And Why?

With the Trump Administration came a lot of changes in the way America ran. From military to refugees to even aid operations, the landscape of America has changed greatly, many of them not for the better.

One of those drastic changes was the official repealing of net neutrality in 2018. Instead of sticking to situations that are tangible in the real world, now the internet has been faced with change as well.

There have been a lot of problems with misinformation and reasons behind the decisions, so getting all the facts straight right from the start is very important.

Though, the short version of all this can be summed up with the single idea of corporate money trying to take as much control as possible. Before we get that deep into the problem, though, we’ll start with the basics.

What Is Net Neutrality?

Network neutrality or net neutrality is the ruling that all internet service providers or ISPs treat everything online equally. This means providing the same amount of bandwidth to every website without adding extra charges or slowing loading speeds on some sites.

Net neutrality forces ISPs to keep their services unbiased, allowing users to go to whatever website they wish. Basically, this is an aspect of freedom and personal choice while getting rid of censorship.

Without net neutrality, ISPs are free to block, slow or charge money to specific content. Most ISPs are owned by parent companies, so there’s a strong fear that ISPs would slow down or block the websites of their competitors while making their own service much faster.

This is a pit that preys on average citizens to make more money for big corporations. Unfortunately, the people who decide whether or not to keep net neutrality also work with big corporations.

Who Is Against Net Neutrality?

The biggest opponent of net neutrality is Ajit Pai, the current chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission or FCC appointed by President Trump in early 2017.

Pai claimed that net neutrality blocked innovation and said that the entire concept was meant to stop “hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom.”

Other opponents of net neutrality include companies like Cisco, IBM and Intel. Some other prominent opponents include Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, PayPal founder Peter Thiel and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol Bob Kahn.

Technology hardware companies, cable providers and small internet providers are also against net neutrality. There are various reasons for all of them to be against this protocol but most of it is tied into investing and the economy.

Why Was Net Neutrality Repealed?

The decision came down to what the internet was classified to be.

People who held up net neutrality said that the internet is a communications service and should be regulated to prevent discrimination against anyone, especially small businesses. Pai stood by the idea that the internet was an information service and didn’t need to be a part of consumer protections.

This argument was met with opposition. Gigi Sohn, the senior advisor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, said, “The FCC is saying for the first time that broadband internet access has no telecommunications component… The package delivery is the package, the road to the hotel is the hotel, the pizza delivery is the pizza.”

Despite the opposition, Pai was the current FCC chairman at the time of the decision and ended up repealing net neutrality due to this stance and persistence.

The Aftermath

After the rollback of net neutrality rules, ISPs were legally able to do a few things to damage websites they didn’t want their customers to view.

Paid prioritization is what happens when ISPs force customers to pay extra to view a website or use a service, like paying premiums or else the page will be blocked. Blocking just means taking the website away completely. Throttling, however, is when they slow the transmission of data, controlling how fast or slow a page loads.

Along with public opinion, there’s also been legal pushback against the FCC’s ruling. Democratic senators in January 2018 worked to repeal the ruling almost immediately backed by many Republican senators.

States like New York and California have tried to repeal the ruling on a local level, with California going so far as to propose a law that put the FCC’s decision on hold.

Net Neutrality’s Future

At this point, we simply don’t know what’ll happen next. A change could come as soon as a new president is in office or never.

However, the sway of public opinion and factual information being shared about the issue is helping the repeal be pushed back. Whatever ends up happening will hopefully be a decision that satisfies the concerns on all sides of the argument while keeping the average citizen in mind first and foremost.

Until a change occurs, people will keep arguing on either side with big corporations always coming out as the winner.

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