Net neutrality rules that were enacted by the US Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration are hanging by a thread. With the FCC now led by chairman Ajit Pai, a longtime opponent of tasking the government with regulating broadband Internet, the White House today announced its official support for his plan to roll back the rules designed to ensure an even playing field.
"We support the FCC chair's efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules, and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty," said deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee in a press briefing (opens in new tab).
Huckabee acknowledged that "rules of the road are important for everyone," including website providers, Internet service providers (ISPs), and consumers, but that "the previous administration went about this the wrong way by imposing rules on ISPs through the FCC's Title II rulemaking power."
Indeed, the FCC then led by chairman Tom Wheeler found the power to regulate ISPs and wireless carriers by classifying broadband Internet as a utility, which allowed the agency to impose, and more importantly enforce, rules prohibiting paid prioritization of Internet traffic (among other things).
The topic of net neutrality, and more specifically how the rules are currently enforced is not only controversial, it is a partisan issue. This is important because even though the FCC has received millions of comments on the matter, many of which are in support of current regulation, it is unlikely that Pai and company will change course. The FCC even recently refused to release (opens in new tab) text of more than 40,000 net neutrality complaints. And sure, there have been various protests such as the Day of Action event (opens in new tab) that took place last week, but they simply aren't having much visible effect.
We have gone in-depth over what the threat against net neutrality means for PC gaming. Summed up, rolling back the rules likely won't affect your day-to-day gaming much right away, if at all, but it is still something every PC gamer should care about. Gaming on the PC (and every platform, really) is increasingly dependent on the internet, whether it's downloading games and updates, watching streams, or whatever. While the impact of rolling back net neutrality rules will not be immediate, the decisions made today will eventually affect how you use the internet to play games and interact with other gamers on the web.