The tedious, multi-phase death scene of net neutrality has finally come to an end with a whimper, as the FCC rules adopted in May, adopted in December and registered in the Federal Register in February, finally come into force today. But do not expect a big fanfare from broadband providers and a sudden rise in prices. Things will stay calm for a while.
Should you be worried? No, but you should stay angry .
"Internet freedom restoration" could have come into effect, but the truth is that the 2015 network neutrality rules were no longer in force since the FCC was merged with the new administration. Under the AFCV of Chairman Ajit Pai, these rules are unlikely to be enforced from the day of its acquisition; He actually promised industry leaders that they should be thrown back as soon as possible, soon after he took over his new office.
But ISPs, who were maltreated by more than a decade of litigation, knew that there was more to it than a friendly face in the FCC. The rules, like the previous years after their adoption, would face serious legal challenges. It would be premature to pursue politics in the new freedom of the Night Titles II era, even if they hope for themselves (and prepare for it).
As expected, the opposition is organized and indeed has a non-trivial chance of success. The popularity, the technical accuracy and the impeccable reputation of the previous rules are nice, but ultimately the challenges must be based on flaws in the new rules, not on the strengths of the old rules.
Fortunately, there is no end to the shortcomings. [1
- Congressional Review Act : The Senate is one vote away from forcing a vote to lift the rules – unlikely, but successful would force senators to position themselves publicly in an election year, while voters are still fresh in the minds of the topic.
- Administrative Procedure Act : Last year's proceedings could be "arbitrary and moody", either because of the various inconsistencies in the FCC's own process or because of the technical issues in the order itself. Complaints have already been filed
- State Laws : Several states have already enacted laws to establish their own network neutrality policy (or are nearing completion). The argument is that if the FCC abandons its powerful Title II authority under which the previous rules were enforced, it will not be responsible for state policy in this area. Lawsuits are filed.
Here and here you can read more about it.
Both sides are pushing for legislation to solve the problem once and for all, although of course each side wants different legislation. But this is a longer game, and since it is an election year, it will almost certainly last until 2019 or even 2020. Many politicians demand that net neutrality be presented as an important electoral problem.
The fact that little will change in the short time after the new rules come into force is testified by their advocates as proof that there is nothing nefarious about them. But the simple truth is that anyone who has something to gain by using the new rules is too smart to do so until he knows he's on a solid legal footing. It will not be long.
In the meantime, politicians, while struggling for legal definitions and justifications for different levels and types of net neutrality, are developing the Internet and the Internet beyond. The increasing ubiquity of encryption raises the arguments and methods of Internet providers to establish "fast lanes" and other disruptions.
That does not mean there are no dodgy tactics here and there. There are many and many internet providers in the country and it might be decided that it is time to establish their "innovative" new policy of zero rating partner streaming video channels while throttling competitors.