FCC Votes to Repeal "Net Neutrality"

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From CBS News:

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday overturned "net neutrality," the regulations ensuring that internet service providers such as AT&T (T), Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) treat all website and content equally.

The meeting was charged, reflecting the public controversy over whether to preserve or eliminate the Obama-era rules. As if to punctuate the drama, attendees at the FCC hearing were forced to abruptly clear the room over unspecified security concerns before Chair Ajit Pai cast his vote.

The debate ran along party lines, with the commission's Republican members voting to unravel the 2015 net neutrality rules and its two Democratic members voting against the measure. In casting the deciding vote, which put the final tally at 3-2 in favor of overturning net neutrality. Pai said, "The sky is not falling, consumers will remain protected."

While internet service companies say consumers won't notice a change, they have also lobbied for net neutrality's overturn, arguing that fewer regulations will allow them to innovate and deliver new services to consumers. Yet net neutrality has become a rallying cry for consumers regardless of political affiliation, with many expressing fears that the end of net neutrality will dampen free speech, create higher costs for consumers and allow ISPs to control what services they use on the internet.  

"We will have a Cheshire cat version of net neutrality," said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who voted against the measure. "We will be in a world where regulatory substance fades to black and all that is left is a broadband provider's toothy grin."

In her comments, which called a "eulogy" to net neutrality, she added, "What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you."

Source: CBS News

Commentary: Man, it is just a day for paradigm shifts, ain't it?  First we get Disney gobbling up the competition.  And now, the FCC has gone and Old Yeller'd Net Neutrality.  I am not an alarmist. I don't see this as "the internet will shutdown by the end of the day" like some people are doom crying. 

That said, I have no faith at all in telecom companies. 

In theory, this could create competition, which is the core value of capitalism.  BUT, cable companies have virtual monopolies in a lot of places.  In my town, we have exactly one cable choice: Cablevision.  So, if Cablevision decided under the new rules to mess with how the internet came in, it's not like I can easily jump to Comcast or another company.  By giving them a bigger leeway to change the way we are used to experiencing the internet and not having a local competitor to force them to service customers right, that is a scary combination.

I also think it's sad that this went completely against the will of the voter.   A University of Maryland poll found that 83 percent of voters are in support of keeping net neutrality intact, with 75 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats in support of the regulations. Everyone I talked to about net neutrality either knew nothing about it or was in favor of keeping things the way they were now.  It's really shameful that so many people haven't even heard of net neutrality or really understand what it means.  The ill-informed voter is truly killing everything great about this country. 

I seem to be saying this alot today, but this is a topic I am sure we will be talking about more on Critical Blast in the weeks and months to come.