Skip to main content

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 covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.