FCC: Net neutrality ends in 60 days

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Needless to say, open access to the Internet is essential for the existence of websites like Postflaviana.

The fight is not over; court battles are looming.


In the latest step in the drive by the US ruling class to censor the Internet, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) on Thursday published its order abolishing Internet neutrality in the governmental Federal Register, initiating a 60-day countdown for the law to come into force.

The FCC’s ruling represents a far-reaching attack on the democratic rights of the entire population and public access to the Internet. Beginning April 23, multibillion-dollar corporate behemoths, such as Verizon and AT&T, will be free to restrict access to or completely censor Internet sites as they see fit.

On December 14, the FCC voted by a 3-2 margin to overturn the previous characterization of Internet broadband as a public utility under the 1934 Communications Act. This definition required that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide customers with the same level of Internet access, regardless of what they were connecting to. Moreover, ISPs could not selectively block or reduce speeds for specific sites or services, and could not create a multi-tiered system by charging users or content providers for higher traffic speeds.

Since the ISPs will not be forced to treat all content the same, they will be able to block web sites and services at their discretion. The claim, promoted by the FCC and its chairman Ajit Pai, that competition between ISPs for market share will prevent such actions ignores the fact that the telecommunications infrastructure is largely monopolized, with four companies controlling 75 percent of all high-speed Internet service. Over half of American households have only one ISP to “choose” from. These corporations are now being handed an incredible power over global communications.

The ISPs will also be able to establish a class-based system of Internet access, including by offering “packages” of Internet content. They may, for example, introduce a premium “Wikipedia package,” charging customers to access Wikipedia, a repository of humanity’s collective knowledge currently accessed by over 400 million people each day, just as cable television networks charge for news and sports.

Richard Stanley

Have you observed any statements of such as ISP policy changes slated for implementation then? I suspect some changes will occur gradually, so as to not cause too much uproar. Probably new pricing plans will appear first, before more draconian means. Also, I'll bet they'll get more aggressive and sneaky about covert 'throttling' and such. In this way they can quietly make life miserable for sites they don't like.