The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality laws protecting equal access on the internet this week — and internet service providers are already planning to take advantage of the move.
The Obama-era regulations ensured that both providers and the government treat all content on the internet equally. They prevented providers from discriminating against certain content or charging different amounts to different users or for certain content or access to particular websites. In short, the regulations created a level playing field to treat the internet as a public utility.
After substantial lobbying efforts by internet service providers, Donald Trump’s FCC Chair, Ajit Pai proposed a repeal, which passed along party lines in the commission, 3-2 — despite overwhelming public opposition and calls from elected officials.
Companies that provide internet service, like Comcast, had included promises to support net neutrality and free, open internet on their corporate websites.
But following the vote, certain tenets of net neutrality Comcast had vowed to support and protect no longer appear on their site.
For instance, the company has removed provisions promising to not throttle the speed content is provided, to avoid prioritizing certain traffic or charging more for faster access, and to support internet access for low-income people.
Here's what @comcast removed from their Net Neutrality page. They no longer promise to:
-Not throttle back the speed at which content comes to you
-Not prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes
-Make internet accessible to low income familieshttps://t.co/tRoOTyATYk pic.twitter.com/LqhnwwYSGv
— Jon Henshaw (@henshaw) December 14, 2017
Now, the company only promises to not block, slow down or discriminate against lawful content; provide full transparency regarding customer policies; and support sustainable and legally enforceable net neutrality protections for our customers.
The move is an indication that Comcast and others could start making changes to service that drastically affects customer internet bill costs and what type of service they have.