The FCC reveals its plan... and it's bad

Earlier this week I wrote that the FCC was to unveil its plan to peel back the net neutrality laws that Obama's administration worked so hard for and now it's revealed the plan... and it's awful.

Basically, the new laws would allow ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others to block websites they don't like, or compete with, charge websites for speedier delivery of their services and leave companies to their own devices for self-regulation. It's incredible how damaging this could be, and will ultimately mean services like Netflix and new entrants will be stifled as providers can decide to block them out or charge anything they like to provide basic service levels to customers.

The only rule in the FCC's plan? ISPs need to tell customers that they're messing with a service's traffic on their website. Yes, that's it, and if they don't, they could be fined. It's ridiculous and will ultimately be damaging: ISPs in America left to their own devices in the past did all sorts of nefarious things, including throttling Netflix, man-in-the-middling traffic and imposing arbitrary data caps on 'unlimited' plans.

Jessica Rosenworcel, an actual member of the FCC wrote in this opinion piece today that consumers needed to be loud and "please stop us from killing net neutrality" and what the implications may be:

"Wiping out net neutrality would have big consequences. Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create"

The FCC's director, Ajit Pai, has directly lied about "never seeing ISPs creating internet fast lanes" to the media and calling the new law the internet freedom act. Yes, freedom to make a lot of money, I guess, because most Americans only have a single choice of ISP so can't even switch away from Comcast, AT&T et al in protest.

The vote takes place on December 14th -- if it passes, which it almost certainly will, the law will become effective within a month. It's likely it'll end up in court and delay it, but with 22 million comments protesting it already I doubt the FCC will care. For 

So: what can you do? Well, you can call and email congress representatives, but there are also a number of planned protests in cities around the US starting soon. As many have pointed out, this could be the last gasp for the open internet, so if you care at all about fair competition and are in the US, I encourage you to take part.

Tab Dump™

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