Despite the public backlash to the then-looming decision made by the FCC to repeal net neutrality laws, in favor of broadband Internet providers, it passed in a vote of 3-2. It’s no understatement to say how important net neutrality is to the function of businesses, especially smaller business that may not be able to afford the potential ‘fast lines’ that could be proposed by Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon.
Since the vote has passed, however, the previously mentioned backlash that has followed has not been quelled; in fact, it has taken a new form in a mounting lawsuit from over a dozen states against the FCC ruling, not to mention other forms of speculation on what will happen moving forward in Congress regarding the issue.
Without the rules surrounding net neutrality in place, though, there is not much holding back ISPs from placing governing rules on Internet content and usage. Growing concerns include everything from freedom of speech to interference with any small businesses and startups. Concerns of fast lane versus slow lane fees are part of the concern, however, without the current functionality of net neutrality moving forward, it invites ISPs to have the ability to interfere and even censor online protesting through content controlling. Content controlling would stifle innovation online and in turn restrict free speech across the web by letting ISPs block content and sites they don’t agree with. This can stem insofar as interfering with the workings of businesses and online services that companies like Verizon, AT&T, etc. view as competition.
On the side of potential increased fees for services, smaller companies and startups who wouldn’t be able to afford running services through hiked fees may be rendered unable to function properly, if not at the very least, slowly – whereas larger companies and corporations may be able to more readily make deals with the service providers that are charging high fees. In fact, one country’s example of how lack of net neutrality costs more per each service rapidly spread across Internet news this fall.
It will take some time before new rules are imposed, however, and it is expected that net neutrality will likely persist through 2018 until rules are replaced. For the immediate future, the current rules as they were before the vote will remain intact, though its time is continuously slipping through the hourglass. Proponents of net neutrality would be wise to keep this a relevant issue with their representatives into the new year, or net neutrality as it once was will likely become a lower priority as more time passes.
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