FCC Sets Date For Vote To Restore Net Neutrality, Reigniting Fierce Debate

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According to a report in Reuters, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is planning to take a vote to restore the net neutrality rules originally put in place during the Obama administration. President Biden signed an executive order in 2021 asking the agency to take this action, however, the FCC didn’t have the votes to do so until October of last year. The vote is expected to take place during the agency’s meeting on April 25th.

The reason these net neutrality rules need to be reinstated is that they were removed during the Trump administration. At the time, the FCC claimed that the rules weren’t necessary and only acted as a burden to internet service providers and prevented any innovation from taking place.

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Jessica Rosenworcel, Chair of the FCC, did confirm the vote will be taking place. She says that "the pandemic made clear that broadband is an essential service, that every one of us - no matter who we are or where we live - needs it to have a fair shot at success in the digital age." With the designation as an essential service, broadband providers will once again receive oversight from the FCC.

One of the key points the agency is making is that with the restoration of the rules it will have the ability to ensure national security. Rosenworcel says that the FCC will now have more authority in ensuring that internet service providers aren’t using any services or equipment from Chinese entities, such as Huawei and ZTE.

The rolling back to prior rules comes at a times when companies continue to consolidate and create vertically integrated businesses where one company owns both the content and the infrastructure that delivers the content. However, some folks obviously take issue with the concept of net neutrality and argue that internet service providers might be hindered in how efficiently they can route traffic with current net neutrality legislation.

The question is, where do you stand on this debate? Is it a good thing to keep ISPs honest, or are we hindering performance, user experience and innovation? Sound off in the comments below...