December 14, 2017

US scraps net neutrality, supports open Internet


On December 14, 2017, the United States top media regulator, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), during a meeting voted to end net neutrality in the country. The net neutrality rules prevented Internet service providers (ISPs) from charging websites more for delivering certain services or blocking others should they, for example, compete with services the cable company also offers.

The rules prevented ISPs from giving preference to certain sites’ traffic, and ensuring they treat all sites equally. Without it, providers can effectively divide up the Internet, deciding which sites to give preferential treatment to, potentially based on whoever can afford to pay them more. This could stifle smaller business and startups that simply don’t have the funds to pay their way to the top.

Divulging more details on the recent move, FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai said, “The current rules had impeded innovation and addressed non-existent concerns. We are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the Internet for much of its existence.”

According to critics, without the rules, broadband providers could change how the Internet works by possibly blocking or throttling services or websites for competitive reasons.

The decision has witnessed huge protests as people are asking the Congress to block the FCC’s efforts to end net neutrality.

Experts favoring end of net neutrality argue that an open Internet has been essential to the creation of today’s web and has allowed companies like Skype to compete with telecom providers and Netflix to change the media landscape.

Dismissing the concerns, Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice-President said, “This is not the end of net neutrality. Despite repeated distortions and biased information, our Internet service is not going to change. Comcast customers will continue to enjoy all of the benefits of an open Internet today, tomorrow, and in the future.”

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