Energy - December 15, 2017

FCC votes to rollback net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to pull back Obama-era rules on internet neutrality. Meaning, the rules that were intended to keep the internet open and fair, are now gone. The telecomm industry supported the rollback; largely because it increases opportunities for companies providing internet services to control speeds to services that aren’t their own. The old rules also prevented attempts to renegotiate contracts to press companies for more money to increase speeds to their streaming services. The FCC says this isn’t all bad; companies will be required to notify consumers of any slow-downs they make. Additionally, oversight shifts to the Federal Trade Commission. Consumer protection groups are opposed to entire deal. They note that cable companies, instead of consumers, will drive traffic towards certain services, such as their own. The oversight shift is also problematic to consumer protection groups. They note that the FTC will now only act if companies are being deceptive to their consumers about prioritizing certain services. Essentially broadband providers and can do what they want with your internet service, as long as they tell you about it. Broadband companies see this as win; touting the rollback will allow for greater broadband investment and innovation.

Net neutrality is a huge issue with a widespread impact; the rule change will likely change the landscape of the internet in some way. Because of that, there's the possibility of lawsuits or action from Congress on the issue.