By Quandary Peak Research
The FCC’s recent repeal of net neutrality regulations has provoked strong reactions from free speech advocates, corporations, politicians, and everyday internet users alike, making it difficult to separate the facts from the bluster. We’ve outlined the case for net neutrality before, so in this piece we’ll examine the legal elements of the repeal, review the arguments for and against net neutrality, and examine what lies ahead.
What, Exactly, Does the Repeal Cover?
The net neutrality repeal rolls back Obama administration-era rules from 2015, which allowed the FCC to treat broadband as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act. This characterization enabled the FCC to prohibit the following actions, which it deemed harmful to the open internet:
• Blocking – discriminating against lawful content by blocking websites or apps
• Throttling – slowing data transmission for legal content based on the nature of said content
• Paid Prioritization – no fast lanes for customers who pay a premium, and no slow lanes for those who don’t
The argument for net neutrality (defined in basic terms as the open and indiscriminate movement of content over a network) revolves around equality—giving Americans equal access to content and equal ability to pursue their objectives online. One of the key concerns of net neutrality supporters is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast and AT&T will become, in the words of the New York Times’ Cecilia Kang, “gatekeepers to information and entertainment”. Major technology companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are among the biggest supporters of net neutrality. They argue the repeal will give ISPs the ability to block services, prioritize content, and create ‘slow and fast lanes,’ ultimately undermining the capacity for innovation that drives so much of the internet.
On the other side of the argument, the repeal supporters—most prominently large telecom companies like […]