As predicted, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to dismantle net neutrality regulations the US, an action that it hailed as "protecting internet freedom," even as most of the rest of the world decried it as a blow against consumers and the first step toward oligarchic rule of the internet.
The FCC just voted to restore the long-standing, bipartisan approach to protecting Internet freedom #OpenMtgFCCDecember 14, 2017
We've got some closer looks at the potential impact of net neutrality repeal, and how it could affect gamers in particular, but the short version is that net neutrality requires all data to be treated equally—meaning that ISPs cannot throttle or charge extra for specific services such as, for instance, Netflix or Facetime. Those regulations were implemented in 2015 under the Obama administration, but the FCC's 3-2 vote, breaking along party lines as usual, paves the way for their dismantling.
It's an incredibly disheartening blow, and one that comes despite the opposition of the vast majority of Americans, but it's not the end of the battle to preserve an open internet. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called on opponents of the rollback to "keep up the fight," and as Motherboard explained, Congress could overrule the decision, although that seems like a bit of a dicey prospect.
There's also the possibility of action at the state level: California state senator Scott Wiener pledged to introduce a bill to adopt net neutrality regulations in the state, and New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who sounded the alarm on the corruption of the FCC's commenting process last month, said he will file a lawsuit to stop the "illegal rollback" of net neutrality.
The EFF and Free Press are also preparing to sue, and other lawsuits will no doubt be brought to bear, but their prospects are uncertain: Opponents of the rollback will need to convince the courts that the FCC is in the wrong, but the courts, University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Christopher Yoo told Wired, "generally side with agencies on those types of issues."
So it's not good, but it's not over, either. To learn more about what happens next and how you can help mash the brakes on this careening clown car, have a look at some of the links below.
Congress has the power to reverse the FCC’s regulation dismantling net neutrality protections. Add your name now to protect our free, fair, and open internet. #NetNeutrality https://t.co/uJyZKuUFi8December 14, 2017
This vote isn't the end of the fight—it's just the beginning. Help us fight back and restore Internet freedom for all. https://t.co/0VlOPjydvNDecember 14, 2017
Here are the facts:1) Congress can stop the FCC and overrule their vote using the Congressional Review Act2) It only takes a simple majority in the Senate and House3) 83% of voters support #NetNeutrality regardless of political partyWe can do this. https://t.co/xSJHbLq2Wn pic.twitter.com/WCg0mntDM1December 14, 2017
The FCC majority just voted to trash your internet rights. Our message to them: we’ll see you in court. This ruling will NOT stand. #NetNeutrality #StoptheFCC https://t.co/Q39ExhvpBoDecember 14, 2017
My statement opposing the @FCC majority's repeal of #NetNeutrality.Read here: https://t.co/qQ9ut15FkI pic.twitter.com/0Ik9y27jGXDecember 14, 2017
And this one isn't real, but it seems appropriate.
FCC Chair Unveils Premium Comment Line To Fast-Track Net Neutrality Complaints For $49.99 Per Month https://t.co/idQHdJPDsj pic.twitter.com/7VhUxlOdnBDecember 14, 2017