We will all have to monitor the country’s Internet Service Providers (Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum and the like) a little more carefully from now on, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end Net Neutrality as we know it. With little to no public support, the Republican majority of the FCC voted for a complete repeal of the 2015 Net Neutrality rules that the Obama administration put in place to protect consumers. The internet is getting a little smaller, and we all lost a little bit of freedom. With the exception of a few outsiders, if you voted Republican in 2016, this was part of their agenda from day 1. A few, like Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, was one of those holdouts in pushing through an FCC ruling, but the President was not. So most Republicans shouldn’t be shocked by today’s announcement, it came with the vote.
Now any ISP can choose which sites or services can get the fastest network speeds. An ISP can decide if you even get access to certain sites. An ISP can even insert fees for sites that you use most often. Do you stream a lot of videos from Netflix, or play a lot of bandwidth-hogging video-games? Keep an eye on your bill, your ISP now has the ability to cap your speeds to those sites, or start charging you more for a better connection to them. Maybe you like Spotify, but Verizon wants you to use Pandora, now Verizon can block users from even accessing Spotify if it chooses, or start charge you extra for the ability to use Spotify. You may think this couldn’t happen in a free market, but many of these companies are almost complete monopolies in rural areas, and many customers have no other option.
The extra cost wont stop with you, now an ISP could charge Netflix itself to bring you the internet, meaning the cost of Netflix will go up. That cost won’t hurt Netflix’s, Google’s, or Itune’s bottom line if they just pass the fee onto you. It gives ISP complete control over what you consume from the internet, and all of it is terrible for anyone that doesn’t own stock in an ISP.
“Our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “They will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor.”
Want someone to blame? Set your sites on Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman handpicked by Trump. Pai stated that the Internet is not a utility, and the vote ended 3-to-2. The FCC’s decision will have to go court next, though a Pro-Republican ruling certainly has a lot of backing at this point in the capital.