The US Government’s plans to repeal net neutrality laws on December 14, has shaken up the communications sector.
Under the FCC’s proposal, new laws would give Internet providers broad powers that would allow them to determine what websites and online services their customers see and use.
In effect the US’s biggest providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, could block websites they do not like and charge online companies for faster delivery of their content.
The FCC’s move would go back on the net neutrality regulation which was passed under the Democrats in 2015. The original net neutrality ruling aimed to make sure all online content, from whichever sized company, would be treated equally by ISPs.
Verizon praised the proposed “light-touch regulatory framework for Internet services,” but from other sectors the news attracted heat from Internet companies and activists who have threatened to hold demonstrations ahead of the FCC's vote.
“The FCC’s net neutrality rules are working well for consumers, and we’re disappointed in the proposal released today,” Google said in a statement.
The new plan would also require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices.
In the case that a provider chose to block or slow certain websites, or gave preferable treatment to content that it owned or had partnerships with, that provider would have to inform consumers of its policy on an easily accessible website.
“This is a very big deal, because it in effect signals the end of the open internet as we know it,” said the head of the New York Tech Alliance, Andrew Rasiej. “Considerably Netflix would charge more for its subscriptions in order to make sure that its movies can get priority when being distributed online.”
“So if companies are paying the internet service providers higher fees for priority access to speed, eventually it will trickle down to the local consumer,” he added.
The US FCC will vote to repeal the regulations on December 14.
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