OUTRAGE has greeted the change of internet rules by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America, with many critics describing it as a huge setback for the internet revolution.
Although the concerns have been largely limited to the USA, the new rules have the potentials to also negatively affect internet penetration and usage elsewhere across the world, including in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, where the use of US internet service providers remains in vogue, according to News Express.
In a highly controversial move that could reshape the internet, the US Federal Communications Commission had on Thursday officially repealed net neutrality regulations.
Net neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic should be equal and fair. The rules were put in place by the FCC in 2015 under the immediate past Barack Obama administration.
They prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or favouring specific websites. The regulations also prevented companies from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming.
Now all those restrictions have been removed under the plan proposed by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Under the new rules, broadband providers would only be obligated to tell the consumer what they’re up to, and likely in fine print.
Pai had argued that the net neutrality rules have hindered investments in the industry. A Yahoo News report quoted him as saying before the vote: “Under Title II, investment in high-speed networks has declined by billions of dollars. Notably, this is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the internet era. When there is less investment, that means fewer next-generation networks are built. That means fewer jobs for Americans building those networks.”
Reacting to the changes, former presidential aspirant, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, said on his official Twitter handle @SenSanders: “This is the end of the internet as we know it. In Congress and in the courts we must fight back. #NetNeutrality”.
One Twitter user said: “We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”
Demonstrators have taken to the streets, some of them describing the development as the equivalent of stealing the internet.
How the repeal of net neutrality protections may affect you
Writing on the impact of the new rules, a Yahoo News report said:
“Internet service providers could block you from streaming your favorite shows and videos from Netflix or YouTube. Or they could charge you extra just to access those sites.
“Your choices could also be limited. Internet service providers would be allowed to prioritize their own content and block access to particular company sites.
“During the FCC monthly open meeting on Dec. 14, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said, ‘Half the households in this country have no choice of broadband provider. So if your broadband provider is blocking websites, you have no recourse. You have nowhere to go’.”
– Dec. 17, 2017 @ 7:30 GMT |