It's amazing just how fast politics can move when corporate interests are at risk. Merely two years ago, we reported on the Federal Communication Commission's approval of clear net neutrality rules - a major win for the open Internet. It didn't take long before parties inside and outside the FCC got to work on trying to derail that win. Today, newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to undo these rules and regulations has been given a favorable vote.
It's important to note that just because Pai's proposal has been given an initial collective nod, doesn't mean that net neutrality rules immediately cease to exist, as the details still need to be examined closely before a final vote puts things into motion.
Ex-FCC Chairman Wheeler (center) fought hard for net neutrality
Ajit Pai (far left) now seeks to undo it
If the reversal of net neutrality goes through, it means that our Internet connections would no longer be classified as Title II, which is the same classification as our phones, power, and other utility and utility-like services. In today's day and age, the Internet isn't a luxury. We communicate through it, much like we do with our phones. We conduct business and do research, and keep in tune with the world. By not considering broadband a Title II utility, it paves the way for corporate interests to shape our expected Internet services under more restrictive terms.
If net neutrality rules are severed, it means that ISPs would gain greater control on their service offerings to consumers. Want access to video? That could cost you extra. Ditto for social media - or perhaps that could be considered a "standard" feature of a barebones package, but who really knows at this point. Given what we've seen from most ISPs from the start of the Internet to today, they're a service provider, not your friend and don't always look out for your best interest, certainly not when it comes to their corporate bottom line. Their goal is to make money, and push their agenda as far as they can in order to maximize profitability.
The Internet as we know it is at stake, despite the fact that millions of Internet users (and tech titans) have voiced their concerns about the pending reversal. There's no other way to look at this situation with anything but a very skeptical eye. Left to their own devices, and that's basically what this ruling allows, ISPs will only take more and offer less, for your hard earned dollar.