FCC Votes to Repeal Net NeutralityDecember 14, 2017
On Thursday, Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality rules, which would allow internet providers to slow down or block access altogether to certain sites, or speed up access to others. The repeal proposal was led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and supported by the two other Republicans on the five-person panel. NSBA opposed repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules which required internet service providers to provide equal access to the internet.
This change will allow internet companies to charge a fee for bandwidth use, stymieing access to information and content to those with fewer resources. Furthermore, this change could make breaking out with a new technology, or product, or company all the more difficult—something about which NSBA’s members are concerned.
Although the formal adoption of net neutrality rules in 2015—and the preceding 10 years when the FCC adhered to net neutrality-like principles—was not in response to any existing access issues, the significant potential for an unfair playing field for small businesses is problematic. The repeal of this rule could result in making small business owners second-class citizens if they are unable to pay premiums for online access to their websites and/or content.
It is highly likely the FCC will face future court challenges aimed at stopping the repeal, and the New York attorney general has launched an investigation into possible tampering with the process process.
NSBA will continue to pursue other avenues to protect our network neutrality.