FCC Overturns Net Neutrality Rules, Brings Us One Step Closer To A Destroyed Internet

FCC chairman Ajit Pai (Chip Somodevilla / Getty)

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality protections in a totally unsurprising move that will, in all likelihood, royally screw the internet as we know it. With net neutrality gutted, browsing the internet could resemble the token '90s experience of waiting for a porn image to load pixel by pixel -- unless you pay a premium.

During a voting session today, and after a year of dogged advocacy, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality. Experts forecast that the Republican-majority commission will remove regulations that prevented broadband internet companies from choking some websites' speeds while fast-tracking others who shell out cash.

It's an unsavoury prospect for the everyday internet user, and one that thousands of websites have taken a stand against. The FCC collected millions of comments on the plan to roll back net neutrality plan this year. A reported 98.5% opposed it. After all that, it looks like Republican-led Congress does not care.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai openly mocked net neutrality protesters on conservative website The Daily Caller yesterday. With all the smoothness of a guy who used to be Verizon's general council and is now openly shilling for his former employer in the capacity of governmental office, Pai reminds viewers that they will still be able to "gram their food" and buy fidget spinners post-net neutrality. We're not stupid, buddy.

In one of today's two dissenting opinions, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel condemned the FCC's blatant disregard for public opinion on the issue: "It's ugly in the cavalier disregard this agency has demonstrated to the public, the contempt it has shown for citizens who speak up, and the disdain it has for popular opinion. Unlike its predecessors this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality. There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires. Add this agency to the list."

In the past, he and other anti-net neutrality congressmen argued that internet regulations will give service providers less incentive to compete and improve. Sure, that sounds like a crock of bullshit when paired with the fact that tens of millions of U.S. homes can only get internet with speeds over 25 Mbps from one company. And that cable companies have donated millions of dollars to hundreds of Republican politicians in the most recent election cycle.

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Comments

    Throttle Twitter over in Washington for a month. See how long it lasts before Trump loses his shit.

      You're foolish if you don't think Trump is batting on the same side as these people, you reckon that the White House wouldn't have some super special internet highway? Even if it was just to keep his trap shut.

        That was the original pitch. People could pay for 'internet fast lanes' and everyone else would have 'standard'. It was infurating for everyone who had to point out that we ALL have 'fast lanes' and the only way you can create a faster lane than what we already have is to make other lanes slower. So it's the creation of slow-lanes.

        I see they've avoided that argument altogether this time around and gone with 2016-2017's winning political approach of simply ignoring or outright lying about any facts that are inconvenient.

        And why wouldn't they? We live in timeline with President Trump. It fucking works.

        Trump put that PoS in charge cause deep pockets told him it was best for making America Great Again. He still needs to be re-elected or have his party on sude a bipartisan move will ruin his day cause he has lost everyone of them thus far.

      It would not surprise me if the real motivation to this is so Trump can tell the ISPs to not allow access nor publish "fake news".

    American problems... Australia is unaffected by these changes. Unless you have your website with an American ISP, then you should worry.

      ISPs control a lot of the infrastructure, these changes may affect anyone who tries to access services hosted in the United States.

        Ppl don't seem to grasp this, Look at Germany, They were sick of the hacking by US agencies & have talked about building their own infrastructure for a non US inclined Internet but that seems a gargantuan task.. Unfortunately.

      This kinda of thing will just be adopted by the Liberals here since they LOVE terrible ideas that hurt the small businesses and little people (majority of us clearly).

      Don't be surprised if the liberals copy paste this idea...

      Last edited 15/12/17 9:09 am

      hahaha no, if it succeeds in America some poli will try and pass it here

        A lot of the things the outlawed by the US net neutrality laws are legal in Australia already. My ISP uses quality of service rules to ensure its own voice over IP telephony service is reliable in the face of congestion, they treat Netflix traffic different to general traffic and don't charge me for it, etc.

        Where Australia is different to the US is that almost all Australians are hooked up to the Internet via open access networks, whether it is the NBN or traditional phone exchanges where Telstra allows third parties to hook up their own DSLAMs. If my ISP does things I don't agree with, I can switch to another one that will give me equivalent speed at similar prices. That reduces the incentive to do most of the anti-consumer things they're talking about in the US.

        Of course, we shouldn't be too complacent: there has been a lot of consolidation of ISPs in the last few years, so we need to make sure we maintain healthy competition.

          I think also there are more ISP's in australia than there is in USA

            Right. This is down to the open access networks: if you're hooked up to the NBN, anyone can sell you Internet access. If you've got a copper phone line, almost anyone can sell you ADSL access (assuming there are sufficient ports in the exchange).

            In the US many areas have a local monopoly for high speed Internet, often provided by the cable television company. They won't let other companies offer Internet access over their network, so your only alternative is often dialup. And with no viable alternative, it is a lot easier for that local monopoly ISP to start leaning on Netflix, or degrading the service of sites that compete with their own offerings.

            We are essentially down to 4 major ISPs now in Australia - Telstra, Optus, TPG and M2/Vocus. Pretty much every minor ISP is basically a reseller of one (or more) of those, or fully owned by one of those.

              I use MyRepublic. Very good service, well priced and the company is militantly pro net neutrality. They're also TPGs global enemy which makes them alright by me.

        Australia doesn't have net neutrality, but we do have competition between ISP's so it's not as big a deal here. In America the big ISP's / cable companies have purchased laws to make competition impossible in huge swaths of the country, making them an effective monopoly in their regions (they even stay out of each others territories and refuse to compete with each other). Net neutrality was the only thing stopping them from implementing slow lanes, zero-rating sites, censoring sites, etc.

      I wouldn't think so Mase. Anything that originates in the US or travels via US peering back to us here will be affected. How many content providers do you use in a day? Netflix? Office 365? Gaming? Accounting "Cloud" products? Adobe collaboration applications? You get the idea.

      Also, it IS starting here already. Look at Telstra's NBN plans. A 50Mbps service will get you a "best effort" ~20Mbps, but you can pay just an extra $20 for a guaranteed 25Mpbs or a guaranteed 30Mbps. Right there you see the double dipping "fast lane" for internet connectivity and now that the complete idiots in the US have allowed this to be 100% legal, it is naive in the extreme to think it won't affect us.

        Why is 'netflix' always the first thing that people bring up when NN is mentioned. It's an absolute plague on society and anything that ends up deterring people from wasting their lives watching trashy TV can only be a good thing for humanity.

          As opposed to, what - playing video games? It's pretty shitty for you to come on here and tell others something they enjoy doing is a waste of their life.

      Ok just stop.

      The last time this came up you ignored any arguments as to why you were wrong and simply disengaged from the debate.

      If you want to try bring this up againgo read the responses from last time you did this song and dance otherwise I have to assume you’re just trolling for the reaction or have some other vested interest.

    Not surprised but still ridiculous. That silly practice seen in the past of US user using a VPN within the US to get around carriers throttling Netflix bandwidth is going to become more common place.

    I'm curious if the process where remain invisible where large ISPs seek money directly from companies like Netflix to make sure their bandwidth isn't throttled like it has been in the past or if ISPs will bring in tiered plans to end uses where they pay a premium to get normal speeds. Well actually I'm betting on both. Congrats ISP lobbyists!

      Except any ISP out for cash will throttle traffic by default and then whitelist into the "fast lane" so a VPN won't help this time around. To be fair i doubt many ISP's will have the gall to charge their users for faster access, instead i imagine they will head over to Netflix's offices and say if you don't play $x then my customers access to your service will be limited.

        Thats the beauty of the plan though... they dont need to "speed up" a customers connection.. they just need to slow it down just enough that it works and people get used to the degraded speed and then offer the better package...

        I mean just look how well that worked out for Telstra we know they deliberately capped speeds because it was more profitable for them that way + "no one really wants those speeds anyway" argument because evryone is "satsified" wuth the slower speed.

    Just more evidence that democracy is a sham and doesn't really exist.

      Much like the 'free market', it exists... but it is a dumb, slow beast susceptible to predation from more agile, powerful predators and parasites, and needs protection.

    They're not even pretending to be acting in the best interests of their constituents anymore, are they?

      nope.
      New political system, looks a little like Democracy but it doesn’t actually listen to the voters.
      It’s called a Mockracy.
      Fat rich folk make decisions that benefit themselves at the the expense of the community.
      Ahhhh, for the days where it was known as ‘public service’.

      Just wait until Trumps accountants finish running the number of how profitable a war with North Korea would be for him and his pals......

        Don't be stupid and silly.. It will be Iran not North Korea

        Except Nukes and China rule out North Korea. You can't go starting a war with someone who has nukes, mutually assured destruction and all.

      Of course not, like every political party that ever was, once in power they couldn't give a shit. They've got the mandate until the end of their term.

      It still needs to go through congress, but this along with that fucking bullshit tax bill will get through no worries.

    For the love that of all things good someone who is not going to be a scumbag get into politics already. No offence but i am getting a bit over the fact that there are probably lots of people who have the smarts and funds that can make a dent to these arsehats but would rather sit on the sidelines. End angry post sorry

      Heres the thing... an elected leader will be a "scumbag" to someone no mattr how good they are mostly because of a persons political stance on the matter.

      What we need is basicslly for someone to put an end to the much more stupid way of adverserial government where you are with us or against us and if you are against us you are scum. Thats what leads to peole voting in the extremes of one end as opposed ty the happ middle that looks out for everyone. But wont happen as adverserial politics is great at keeping the status quo... something career politicians love

    This is the most corruptable display of abuse of power by allowing such a bias and clearly bought organisation to make a decision since Fifa announced Qatar.

    They have refused public and government input, when they did allow public opinion the covered up the fact it was rigged and refused outside investigations or audits. This was any other country this would be a corruption hearing by the end of the week... but no this is America democracy at its finest hour.

    This decision will ruin the American economy by allowing an industry to extort money out of all industries. This will increase taxes and cost of living... cause everyone from your government to your local coffee shop needs internet. Say goodbye to free wifi.

    Ha-HA - ALL DA INTERNETS ARE GONE

    Could this be reversed by a democrat president after next election?

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