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This summer, Experts Exchange spoke out in support of net neutrality, the idea that ISPs of all sizes should be treated equal. We participated in the internet-wide Day of Action on July 12th where we stood alongside individuals, businesses, and corporations alike that supported Title II. Despite these efforts across the nation, the FCC—led by former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai—voted last month to repeal net neutrality. This decision has the potential to change the open internet as we know it.
Those who support the Title II framework met the repeal announcement with opposition. Many companies signed a pledge and plan to honor their commitment to protect a free and open internet. Currently, several states are banding together to file suits against the FCC in order to preserve the former regulations. Some states are hoping to put their own regulations in place to ensure net neutrality still exists for their constituents.
Experts Exchange: You spoke in support of Net Neutrality. What was your reaction when it was repealed by the FCC?
Doug Walton: I was already expecting it to be voted that way. The FCC showed they don’t care what the people want when they ignored all the comments submitted to their website, and they refused to help investigators look into the fraudulent submissions. It was nice to hear Jessica Rosenworcel’s speech of dissent during the vote, though.
EE: What is California’s plan for stalling the vote and ensuring net neutrality?
DW: California state senator Scott Wiener is planning to introduce a state law early this year that will implement net neutrality protections.
EE: How does this differ and/or fall in line with the majority of responses to the repeal?
DW: The majority of the state responses we’ve seen have been in support of maintaining net neutrality, which means California is not alone in its stance. The Washington State Governor, for example, said the state plans to sanction any ISP that blocks sites or requires customers to pay for prioritized access.
Keep in mind the FCC vote says it prevents states from creating their own net neutrality protections. Clearly that isn’t stopping them from trying. Many states are also suing the FCC.
EE: What resource can individuals access to find out what to expect in their state?
DW: I’m unsure of a specific resource outlining each state’s intention, but people can go to battleforthenet.com to stay informed.
EE: What can we do to avoid being affected by the repeal?
DW: There’s not much we can do as individuals. Most people are stuck with big ISPs and don’t have access to other affordable options for decent internet. If you are currently signed up with a big ISP that has been pushing to remove net neutrality, and there’s a smaller ISP you can access that is pro net neutrality, consider switching. Using an ISP that supports net neutrality means you’ll continue to receive the same level of open internet access you’re used to.
It’s unclear at this date how long it will be until the FCC’s ruling fully takes affect, and also unclear just how the nation of internet consumers will react when the changes take place, like having their broadband speeds altered or access to premium content and speeds locked down for a fee. Many in the technical community hope that future politicians will be more well-versed in everyday technologies and the laws that govern them so our society can continue to move forward in innovation, commerce, and technology breakthroughs.
What is your reaction to the FCC repeal? How do you think people can protect themselves in the future as the repeal takes effect? Tell us in the comments below