FCC votes to kill net neutrality

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. 

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.

And this one isn't real, but it seems appropriate. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.