In 2019, net neutrality takes the first step toward an eventual Supreme Court ruling

In 2019, net neutrality takes the first step toward an eventual Supreme Court ruling
2018 was not a great year for net neutrality. The Obama-era rules were designed to prevent ISPs and wireless carriers from charging content streamers to access a "fast lane." In addition, the rules block these carriers from banning content that they don't agree with. In other words, net neutrality forces all streaming content to be treated the same. But when President Donald Trump named Ajit Pai as the new FCC Chairman in January 2017, Pai led an FCC vote to repeal net neutrality, and the rules were wiped from the books last June.

Since then, lawmakers in several states, including California, voted to make net neutrality the law in those states (although the Trump administration is suing). Net neutrality has turned into a political football and according to CNET, Democrats were unable to garner enough votes to use the Congressional Review Act as a way to overturn the FCC's decision. With the Democrats about to take over the House one week from tomorrow, there could be some federal legislation, although any bill passing the House would still have to get past the Republican controlled Senate and be signed by President Trump. That seems like a long shot.

As a result, all eyes watching this battle will turn to the courtroom next year. Matt Schettenhelm, a legal analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, says, "I expect the next chapter in the net neutrality story to be mostly about waiting for litigation." Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on February 1st at the Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. In that case, 22 state attorneys general and the AG of Washington D.C., along with organizations and tech groups, are asking the appeals court to overturn the FCC's repeal.

Some legal experts say that the court will probably affirm the FCC's ability to stop states from enacting their own net neutrality laws. The FCC argues that requiring ISPs and wireless carriers to follow 50 different state laws is too complicated. Still, most of these analysts also expect this issue to go all the way to the Supreme Court. But before it does, there is a good chance that the Democrats will capture the White House in 2020 and throw FCC Chairman Pit out on his butt. That would allow a newly composed FCC to return the net neutrality rules to the books.

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13 Comments

1. RevolutionA

Posts: 389; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

I don't understand why they need this net neutrality.

2. caqde

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 16, 2017

These Net Neutrality provisions keep ISP's from shaping traffic that is not designated as something that should have priority. ( hospital and emergency traffic etc.) and at the same time required them to prioritize only the traffic that should have priority. So what has happened since Net Neutrality has been gone. Well network throttling has begun according to a 2018 news post from NorthEastern University and the throttling of emergency responders in California by Verizon. I'm sure there will be more issues to come, but also note because of this change not only are these issues happening there is nothing that can be done about it. Sure you could change your ISP, but that may not be an option for many people and it may not even change things for you either.

3. andrewc31394

Posts: 270; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

don't forget, companies like comcast immediately after the removal of net neutrality removed any and all literature from their websites claiming they wouldn't prioritize certain content

4. tuminatr

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I have not noticed any difference either with or without NN

6. andrewc31394

Posts: 270; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

that is because ISP's aren't dumb. these changes will be slow and gradual so that the average person doesn't notice and flip out on them until it's too late lol

8. tuminatr

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Explain to me how that would have been legal when NN was the law of the land. Either the ISP's followed the law or they didn't. Also can you provide some evidence that an majority of ISP's were slow to adopt or did not adopt the changes required to conform to the law.

9. caqde

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 16, 2017

How what was legal? Companies that were caught breaking Net Neutrality provisions were taken to court by the FCC if they did not comply with the FCC. As for evidence of them not adopting or adopting the changes to conform it isn't as simple as that. The FCC doesn't go to their business and look at their router settings or something. All that is done is that the FCC will monitor from the outside and in other cases wait for complaints from consumers and business's and investigate issues case by case. Besides that catching this type of violation isn't as simple as people might think it is because it is usually against a specific service or against a specific website or websites. Also they usually would only limit the speed so that it is fast enough for you to browse and use, but slow enough that it might nag at you a bit. For instance a website like Netflix would be slowed down so that you would see the buffering symbol multiple times per video, but you would still be able to watch minutes of video between each buffering. As for particular instances of Net Neutrality infringements. Known instances include Cox Cable and VPN services, Comcast blocking VPN ports, Madison River Communications blocking Vonage, ATT and Apple Facetime. All of these infringements were during the time that Net Neutrality was either in place or thought to have been in place where the FCC could do something. I'm sure there is more and there are likely ISP's that were infringing without the knowledge of the people that are using their service.

11. tuminatr

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Most of those cases were before NN was the law of the land and actually were resolved without NN. You have also pointed out the biggest negative of NN its a broad stroke and even if a ISP is using traffic shaping to benefit its customers its not allowed

12. caqde

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 16, 2017

And how do you decide at what point traffic shaping is good for the user? The provisions applied to the US Net Neutrality was that only Emergency Services should have priority traffic shaping applied to them that's it and it makes sense that way. Nothing else should be prioritized in such a way. As for the cases against the companies although it may not have been written in the way it was as a title II service. The ISP's still perceived the FCC as having power over them. That is until Verizon forced the FCC's hand through the courts in 2014. For a more severe version of what companies can do without Net Neutrality back in the early Internet AOL served internet to people, but what was actually served was a COPY of the internet they wanted you to see. They would cache it on their servers and serve it to you. Updating it at their discretion. This can be done today again by any ISP if they so wish now with the changes made by the FCC. (Look up AOL walled garden if you want to see what I mean Prodigy and CompuServe were also this way back in the early days)

13. tuminatr

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I think you are making my point for me NN went too far the ISP's need some controls but how do you give them some flexibility and stop them from being evil with it. How do you get a group of legislates that know less than us about the internet to write a comprehensive law with flexibility built in? I don't think they can. Also IMHO AOL and the "Walled Garden" are examples of why we don't need NN the internet pioneers like AOL failed in the open market because they gave consumers something they did not want.

10. caqde

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 16, 2017

delete this post (Why did this get double posted. I clicked once to post)

5. ZeroCide

Posts: 806; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

The companies will creep in all the changed so that you don't notice until its too late.

7. tuminatr

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Explain to me how that would have been legal when NN was the law of the land. Either the ISP's followed the law or they didn't. Also can you provide some evidence that an majority of ISP's were slow to adopt or did not adopt the changes required

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