New Net Neutrality Rules Published
On Thursday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took another step toward doing away with net neutrality. While the organization voted to repeal net neutrality back in December, they published the new rules this week. The first changes will officially go into effect on April 23.
The order, titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” and supported by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, certainly has its opponents. Ronald Newman, the director of strategic initiatives for the American Civil Liberties Union summed up the case on this issue a few months ago: “In a world without net neutrality, activists may lose an essential platform to organize and fight for change, and small organizations may never get a fair shot to grow and thrive. Congress must stop Chairman Pai’s plan in its tracks and ensure that net neutrality remains the law of the land.”
What Happens Next
With the new rules published, several state attorneys and advocacy are updating lawsuits challenging the FCC’s decision. Moreover, congressional efforts to overrule the FCC are not completely dead. In addition to movements from constituents, Democratic senators and representatives plan to hold a press conference on February 27 in order to generate support for net neutrality.
Congress can still overrule the FCC’s decision, it is unlikely that the Republican-controlled legislature will do so. However, supporters still seek to influence Congress in a number of ways. There are sure to be a lot of said supporters, as a December poll from the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation found that 83 percent of voters want current net neutrality rules to remain in place.
Process-wise, the majority of the new rules must be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. The FCC will then announce when the repeal is full and official. With Thursday’s developments and more developments looming on the horizon, defenders of net neutrality have a limited time to sell their case.