Net neutrality dies on June 11th

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Net neutrality is done for in the US as of early next month.

The Federal Communication Commission’s rules protecting consumers from discriminatory behavior by ISPs are officially scheduled to come off the books on June 11th. The final portion of the order revoking the rules is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow and will go into effect 30 days later. An FCC spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that there would be no net neutrality rules as of June 11th.

The FCC has chosen to replace its popular net neutrality rules with next to nothing. Instead of having rules that stop internet providers from dividing the internet up into fast and slow lanes and prioritizing their own content, the new order allows internet providers to block, throttle, and prioritize content if they want to. The only real rule standing in their way is that they have to publicly disclose any of this behavior.

While there have been some last-minute attempts to block the repeal of net neutrality, chances are exceedingly slim that they’ll make it through. Ultimately, the legislature and executive branch are controlled by Republicans who largely dislike the rules and want ISPs to be able to do what they want with internet traffic. The FCC’s current leader believes that by allowing ISPs more flexibility, they’ll be able to make more money, and therefore will be more likely to extend service to areas of the US that aren’t currently profitable to reach.

While net neutrality may be on its way out, many of its core tenets probably aren’t going to be gone for good. There’s growing consensus among legislators that something needs to be done to address net neutrality. And some have viewed the FCC’s revocation of the rules as a way to force Congress’ hand.

Chances are, no net neutrality law is going to be passed in any kind of timely manner. Congress has a lot of higher priority items to get to and a major partisan divide. And whenever Congress does get around to addressing net neutrality, it isn’t clear that the ultimate law will be as strong as what the FCC has on the books today (and is about to get rid of). But it at least means that net neutrality advocates’ fight is going to continue, and the only next step seems to be for Congress to come up with a final answer.

Comments

I feel like it’s odd to not mention that Net Neutrality in the form of the FFC regulations has only been around since February 26, 2015. If anything, the internet (and country) has gone more to shit while the regulations were in place than the decades of development prior.

People routinely make this sound like a major civilizational shift, like we’re jettisoning the Civil Rights Act or something, but we’re just going back to 2014, and I think most of us have a little nostalgia for 2014 at this point in time.

Except that Net Neutrality was the supposed ‘default’ before the legislation came in, and the legislation came in to stop the telecoms giants that now have the FCC in their pockets from breaking away from the voluntary prescriptions of Net Neutrality as a concept. The reason things unquestionably will now change is because these companies specifically wanted this legislation gone so that they could operate without the tenets of Net Neutrality holding them back – and that also unquestionably means a worse Internet for everyone, including those of us outside of the US, as a result.

Murder was always wrong before anyone ever signed a law to say it was wrong, and if anyone were to repeal the laws against murder you can be damned certain that the intentions of the people behind that repeal were pretty murdery.

In 2014 streaming television services weren’t a thing, data caps for home ISPs were largely not a thing, 4k streaming wasn’t a thing. So yes, going back to 2014 rules in a 2018 environment is very likely to be a nightmare for customers.

Streaming services were huge in 2014. But ISPs were throttling services and forcing netflix and others to enter into private peering agreements to improve performance on their networks. That’s a big part of why this law was put in place to begin with.

Exactly. The government was rightfully hands off for as long as it could be. Regulations come about as the result of misbehavior.

I am talking services like SlingTV, Youtube TV, etc. Alternatives to watching live TV via traditional cable television. Where as right now I can use them in place of traditional cable, if Comcast decided to throttle that bandwidth or use more restrictive caps I am forced back to a traditional cable package.

You mean back in 2014 where several major ISPs actively throttled netflix and other streaming services but lied about it (streaming is, in fact, much more reliable than it was in 2014 despite being higher resolution)? When providers were testing limited roll-out of pay-to-access tiered services? The only reason they got off the hook was because they changed practice quickly in anticipation of this law, and the law was put in place because the tipping point of things getting cripplingly anti-consumer was visible on the horizon.

Don’t pretend there was some golden age of the internet, and any argument that we can "go back to the good ol’ days" where the internet is concerned is a fallacy anyways. The internet changes, the technology changes, the exploitation changes, all at a very rapid pace. You don’t form solutions for problems on the internet based on how it was years ago, because it will never, ever be that way again. If that were the case we could curb piracy by making ISPs stop replicating the alt.warez newsgroups…. oh wait.

to correct myself – rules, not law.

Not mentioning that is not odd and you are a perfect example as to why it isn’t mentioned. You ignorantly suggest that we’re going back to pre-2015 internet (we’re not) while not mentioning the fact that net neutrality has been enforced by the FCC for a lot longer than that. 2015 is when enforcement began under Title II.

Also, your statement claiming that development has gone to shit after Title II enforcement has no basis in reality. The ISP’s told their shareholders that that is not the case.

the FCC reclassified broadband as a Title II carrier which allowed them to enforce net neutrality on ISPs in 2015. They did this in response to a legal challenge. There was net neutrality before that and there has been net neutrality for more than a decade. This will be the first time that corporations and ISPs will have full rein to throttle and deny access to websites and services on the internet.

I sincerely hope you work for a telecom because if you’re just putting this misinformation out there as a citizen, wow.

Note to future Democratic presidents: get laws passed instead of executive orders or committee rules.

Congress passes laws and was controlled by the pro business, anti-regulation party that was dead set on opposing the sitting president on everything. Voters need to elect better congress members.

Oh, so it sounds like Congress was doing exactly what they were elected for.

This repeal won’t really affect me. I live in a state that has passed its own net neutrality rules. It must suck to live in a red state.

That’s all well and good until the federal government finds a way to get the state laws overturned.

Well, good luck. I highly doubt they have the power to do that.

Unfortunately they likely do, under the cover of regulating interstate commerce.

They basically do, that’s why the law your state (I don’t know what state you are in but every state that is doing this is using the same text) put in place is just a workaround to try to force the hand by tying it to government work. The states can’t override the fed on net neutrality, they can just chose not to do business with ISPs who don’t meet their expectations.

They’re not overriding the federal government on net neutrality because the feds are no longer going to regulate that aspect of the internet. There are no conflicting laws.

People seem to be suggesting that states can’t pass their own regulations when they obviously can and do. California is currently being sued for their emission standards

San Francisco actually has quite a few competing ISPs. It isn’t just Comcrap and AT&T here. Governments are responsible for letting ISPs have monopoly power in the first place. Why can’t governments also help bolster some smaller, more innovative and less sucky ISPs to come up with the solution?

Sonic for all!

They just pick ones abiding by the rules. The government regularly works with tier 1/2 providers, they can negotiate for new cable to be laid so aren’t in the same level of regional monopolies as individuals.

I think it’s cute that someone thinks that any of these companies will abide by the rules. I know it’s called "collusion", but honestly I’d bet on the side that says existing corporations, with all their infrastructure in place and built, will gamble on not following the rules laid out by states and take their chances (their almost certainly positive chances) in Federal court.

It’s in the interest of Tier 1/2 networks and many commercial-oriented ISPs to abide by net neutrality. It is actually more difficult and costly for them not to, and would be detrimental to their sales. Even though many are under the same corporate umbrella as ISPs (each of the major telecoms in the US), you will also see the different branches of the companies operate differently in this regard (Centurylink is a great example as their business units are so badly fragmented and Level 3 was a recent acquisition) which will probably fudge what states accept. There are also a few networks/ISP out there who operate more independently of this mess, though that’s shrinking as the buyouts continue to be allowed…

Throttling and fast lane BS is the domain of people with thousands to millions individual consumers they can milk. "Nickle and Dime" tactics don’t work up the chain.

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