The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to overturn Obama-era Internet protections known as net neutrality rules. Chairman Ajit Pai led the charge to repeal the norms approved back in 2015 by his predecessor Tom Wheeler.
In spite of fierce opposition by consumers, giants of the tech industry, Congressmen, state attorneys, and Internet pioneers, the decision was made this afternoon to pass the Restoring Internet Freedom order. What this will allow, as pointed out by most concerned voices, is for ISPs to enforce new practices that will harm users.
Not all is lost, though, as experts claim there are still possible courses of action to take. Congress representatives and state attorneys have had their offices flooded with calls from constituents calling for them to stop the death of net neutrality, and they have vowed to take action as soon as possible. Here is what you need to know.
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) December 14, 2017
The battle for net neutrality continues in Congress, States, and the Supreme Court
First things first: net neutrality is not effectively dead as of Thursday. The approval by the FCC needs to be entered in the records of the National Register, a process that takes approximately two months. During that time, though, many a fight is likely to surface against the Republican commissioners’ decision.
Democrats in Congress are planning to stand up for net neutrality, pushing for a Congressional Review of the FCC move, which needs only a simple majority. However, they are also looking to get some support from the Senate where the majority is clear.
Although the Order establishes that states won’t be able to independently fight the decision of the Commission, some states have announced resistance. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he intends to sue the agency and 19 other attorneys have also expressed their willingness to do so.
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) December 14, 2017
Don’t trust ISPs, even if they don’t act right away
Despite the fact that internet service providers have technically gotten carte blanche to start doing things their way since today, they will probably hold off until the move goes into force after the two-month period elapses.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t actually do it when the time comes. Tomorrow, when the Internet is still standing and working, as usual, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the Commissioners who voted in favor of the repeal will use the argument to double down on their decision.
In turn, this will fend off some consumer fears and concerns over the effects of a “restored free Internet,” but if all opposition fails, be sure we will see them roll out sooner rather than later.