Even in the wake of major protests and congressional pressure, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to move forward with a set of controversial proposed rule changes that would ultimately allow Internet Service Providers (ISP) to slow down traffic for any organization that fails to pay premium fees for speeds you currently experience.
The FCC made last minute changes to the proposals and attempted to spin them as guarantees that net neutrality will be unharmed but it is all smoke and mirrors. The reality is they simply coopted the definition of net neutrality and started calling black, white. FCC chair Tom Wheeler used linguistic sleight-of-hand to make it appear as though net neutrality, which he attempted to confuse with his own phase “open Internet,” is preserved because the proposals prohibit ISPs from outright blocking a user from reaching a website.
“We are dedicated to protecting and preserving and open Internet,” Mr. Wheeler said immediately before the commission vote.”
It’s worth pointing out that before becoming FCC chair, Wheeler was a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, the very same corporations that own ISPs and benefit from today’s vote.
Unfortunately for Wheeler, he can’t change the definition of net neutrality to suit his own purposes and to be clear, net neutrality is a set of principles that have been adopted via a series of policies and regulations which prohibit ISPs from throttling websites for any reason but especially under the guise of a shakedown; “Your site will slow down to whatever speed we deem suitable unless you pay us.”
The only potential saving grace here is blowback has been so strong that the deal may fall apart by a more to redefine ISPs as utilities, or Congress could step in with legislation that neuters FCC involvement.
Although this isn’t done and over, the FCC’s recent decision takes a giant step in the wrong direction, so regardless the outcome, do yourself a favor and follow these five steps so you don’t get caught with your pants down if the great slowdown is in place by the end of the year.