Net neutrality is about to die, and the systematic dismantling of free internet will begin April 23.
Once the new regulation by the government comes into effect, the terms of web browsing will be dictated entirely by service providers, denying millions of users their right to unbiased internet access.
A report published by the Federal Communications Commission in the Federal Register clearly states that some of the rules prohibiting service providers from offering discriminatory internet service would become void after 60 days. The Barack Obama administration formulated the net neutrality law in 2015.
Meanwhile, the decision didn’t go well with several state governments, some of which even issued orders barring state agencies from using the services of internet providers unwilling to protect net neutrality.
Also, some of the state legislators are planning to have net neutrality rules implemented locally. Supporters argue that in the absence of protection, the voices of smaller players in the digital world would get drowned in the race for traffic and they will eventually lose out to the biggies.
Nevertheless, the chances of the Commission revisiting the decision cannot be ruled out. The legal fight initiated by advocates and politicians after the Commission voted to end net neutrality is gathering momentum. The House Bill-2282 passed by Washington legislators to prohibit tampering of internet traffic is expected to be placed before the state Senate soon.
Why would internet service providers take the pain of blocking or burying select websites and promoting the domains of their choice?
Once net neutrality is expunged, you might have to pay a premium to watch Netflix or use Instagram
For instance, telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon might block their rivals’ web pages or make them slow down. Service providers can also stop certain political opinions from showing, and even take money from companies for promoting their content, while also burying the web pages of competitors.
Well-established social networking and streaming companies such as Facebook and Netflix will be the most affected, and users might encounter messages like “this video is currently not available,” and “404 Not Found” frequently.
While there is a widespread clamor for penalizing service providers that fail to protect net neutrality, there is no clarity on its effective implementation.
The often-complicated procedures followed by companies to block and throttle content make it difficult to bring them to book. For example, websites can slow down and go offline depending on the broadband speed and efficiency of infrastructure also, making it nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact reason behind such snags.