The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality in a 3-2 vote along party lines today. With net neutrality one step closer to getting dismantled, the websites and online content that you love could become much harder to access.
The FCC just voted to restore the long-standing, bipartisan approach to protecting Internet freedom #OpenMtgFCC— The FCC (@FCC) December 14, 2017
Net neutrality prevents broadband internet companies from creating fast lanes for prized websites and online content, while slowing down smaller online content that cannot compete. There are of course other ramifications for removing net neutrality that will chip away at the pillars of an open internet.
Despite a coalition of companies, websites, and open internet activists, the FCC—led by Commissioner Ajit Pai—has pushed through with its net neutrality repeal. This is despite protest from two other members of the FCC, the Democratic Party, and even last minute Republican lawmakers. A reported 98.5 percent of those asked oppose removing net neutrality. Still, the Republican-led Congress is expected to push forward with its removal.
Pai and supporters of removing net neutrality argue that without it, internet service providers will be driven to compete for customers, theoretically building a better internet. In practice however, it is more likely that these companies will try and find more ways to monetize their services at the expense of customers and smaller businesses.
Challenges to repealing net neutrality are being mounted in Congress, while lawsuits from organizations like the EFF are being pushed forward. California state senator Scott Weiner has also announced that he plans on pushing forward legislature that will keep net neutrality in California. However, the hurdles are still very high, and today's vote was a major blow to protecting net neutrality.