US FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality. Here’s How it Will Affect You.

Image Source: The Daily Beast

Image Source: The Daily Beast

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal Net Neutrality recently and the whole internet went into an uproar, both for and against the decision. For some time now the FCC, headed by Ajit Pai, has sought to undo this 2015 rule. This is part of President Trump’s promise to erase all government regulations Obama put in place during the time of the past administration. It ensures that ISPs will not be able to restrict or throttle Internet connection speeds based on content. But this also somehow restricts new investors from entering the ISP business.

Many of the ones against the decision complain about a lot of things, particularly the claim that people will now be charged just for using certain websites. This is based on the accusation that ISPs will slow down Internet speeds and throttle content-based connections. Another concern that’s always present in the arguments is that it harms small businesses because even if Google and Twitter were charged as content gatekeepers, they can afford it while the smaller and newer Internet-based businesses can’t, giving these companies an unfair advantage.

However those in favor of the decision dismiss these allegations as baseless. They reason out that Net Neutrality has been in effect for only 2 years and the Internet before that has not been that bad as their opponents have described. Also they highlighted the hypocrisy of content gatekeepers who are backing the action of those against the repeal, noting that Google (and YouTube), Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix, among others, would censor their political opponents, especially during the time of the 2016 US presidential elections.

It doesn’t help that Ajit Pai once worked for Verizon before being appointed by Obama into the FCC and nominated by Trump as the head. Pai also somehow added more gasoline into the fire when he released this somewhat comical video that did nothing except insult the people who takes the issue seriously.  Tensions are running high in the US right now.

But more importantly, how will this affect you? You, who are the end users of the service that’s available over the Internet.

A Need for Speed

Image Source: ABC News

Image Source: ABC News

It depends but Internet speed will not be largely affected by this decision in any way. ISP in the US isn’t a monopoly, as a lot of people would like others to believe. There are companies that are competing for customers in the ISP industry and presenting the best product to entice customers will still continue. Opponents of the repeal believe that the companies will somehow magically agree to each other that they’ll charge end users extra to surf the Internet. They might try, but they’ll lose customers this way, so they’ll most likely avoid that scenario. And this is assuming you live in the US. If you live outside the US and have a different ISP, then you won’t be affected by these decisions.

Extra Charges

Now suppose that Net Neutrality was fully repealed, being forced to pay extra to surf the content you want is just as counterproductive and anti-consumer as slowing down your Internet. If these happens to any one of the ISPs there will be mass cancellation of subscriptions, which is something ISPs don’t want to happen.

Some believe that ISPs won’t charge the end user, but instead will charge the content gatekeepers, like Google or Twitter. Well, this is a non-issue.  If the ISPs asks Google extra charges for better speed, it doesn’t mean that there will be less speed for their competitors, UNLESS Google asks and pays the ISPs to slow their competition down. This means, of course, that it would be Google’s fault.

Not in Effect Yet

Image Source: USA today

Image Source: USA today

The repeal has a few steps to go through so that means those against it have few more chances to stop the repeal from ever happening. It is now up to those who live in the US to decide the fate of Net Neutrality. Should the mentioned allegations become real, consumers can still fight off the abusive ISPs with their wallets and choose a provider and a plan that will suit their needs. But because business is business, driving off customers would be the last thing these ISPs would want to happen.