Net neutrality is officially a thing of the past, as the FCC voted on Dec. 14 to repeal laws approved in 2015. Here’s what losing net neutrality might mean for you in the future.
Net neutrality was all about keeping the internet free and open. Under former net neutrality rules approved by the FCC in 2015, internet providers couldn’t purposely slow down internet speeds of competitors (to summarize an often-quoted example, Comcast couldn’t slow down Netflix to bolster their own streaming platform) and prioritize their own content. Now that it’s been repealed, here’s what internet providers can do. They can slow down internet speeds, they could incentivize faster internet speeds, or block and throttle access to the internet. However, they’d have to disclose such instances to the FCC, who would then evaluate the internet provider’s activity and determine if it’s anti-competitive. Some fear that as long as the activity is disclosed, internet providers can get away with it.
So, what’s the cold, hard reality of a non-neutral internet? Is your Netflix suddenly going to stop working when you’re only halfway through the next season of Mindhunter? Not necessarily, but future streaming services might suffer if existing streaming services are prioritized over them. The best case scenario is that internet providers might provide offers that will save you money (especially on streaming services). The worst case scenario involves them jacking up the prices for popular streaming services. It’s an abrupt shift, so time will have to tell how internet providers use or abuse net neutrality’s repeal.
But is this truly the end of the road for net neutrality? Probably not. There’s a good chance its repeal will result in some sort of legislation in Congress, or it will be taken up in the court system.
HollywoodLifers, how do you feel about net neutrality’s repeal? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.