Friday, December 15, 2017

FCC voted to repeal Net Neutrality

It's still has to pass the approval of the United States congress, but the FCC has already voted to repeal the net neutrality principle. If it passes in congress as well, the future isn't looking very bright.

What are the possible consequences of net neutrality being removed?

Expect all of the internet services you are using to become more expensive. It's very possible that your very internet service itself will become more expensive (especially if you are using a smaller ISP, which needs to pay larger ISPs for their services). And it probably won't matter if you don't live in the United States. Your ISP will be forced to charge you higher fees, even if they wouldn't want to.

Expect more and more online services that are now free to either go behind a paywall, become more expensive, or just cease to exist. Expect, for instance, all games on Steam to become more expensive, if Valve is forced to pay money to ISPs to avoid severely crippled bandwidth. The same goes for PSN, Xbox Live, and all digital distribution platforms. Likewise video rental services will become more expensive.

It's very possible that twitch.tv, and all streamers using it, will be affected. It may well be that in the near future you can't stream to twitch.tv for free anymore, which means that 99% of streamers will just have to leave the platform. Heck, it may even mean that you can't watch any videos on twitch.tv for free anymore. Which in turn may well mean the end of the entire site. It's very possible that twitch.tv will cease to exist.

And the big one, YouTube, will likewise be affected. We take YouTube for granted, but it has been under constant attack during the past year, and if net neutrality is repealed, the attacks will only get stronger. Google is already running YouTube at a loss at this moment. The losses will only increase by orders of magnitude. Google may well decide it's not worth it, and end YouTube for good.

Not only will this stop the service, but it will mean that for hundreds and even thousands of people their main channel of free speech, of communicating their opinions, will be shut down. And there probably will not be any alternatives (because any alternatives will also be either expensive or shut down).

And here we come to the crux of the problem: ISPs will now have the legal right to throttle, or even completely ban, websites that they don't like, eg. for political reasons. Only approved websites will get any bandwidth.

This last thing might not be as bad, as the net neutrality repeal will only affect the United States (although it will affect Americans themselves). Websites in other countries will probably still be viewable in other countries. It's just that they will probably have to be low-bandwidth text-and-images only websites, such as articles and blogs. Forget about video websites.

The lack of net neutrality will be abused for political purposes. If somebody thinks it won't, they are being naive to the extreme.

1 comment:

  1. No, agency regulations don't require positive approval. Net neutrality is repealed.

    Congress subsequently has a period of 60 legislative days to pass a resolution rescinding it; however, like regular legislation, the disapproval may be vetoed by the president (a 2/3 majority can overcome the veto).

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