Net neutrality remains a hot issue between its proponents and its detractors, who are mainly composed of big broadband and telecom companies. While the anti-net neutrality camp already scored a win with the recent repeal of the laws on the national level by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), some states opted to take matters into their own hands by passing legislations to keep net neutrality in effect within their borders.
Of course, the move irked the group behind the net neutrality repeal. In fact, the lobby group representing AT&T, Verizon and other big ISP players vow to take legal actions against states that enact net neutrality rules in their jurisdiction.
The United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) remains adamant in its stance that net neutrality is not a state by state concern but must be tackled as a federal-wide concept. USTelecom is the lobby group representing AT&T, Verizon, Frontier, CenturyLink, Windstream and other big players in the telecom industry.
“Broadband providers have worked hard over the past 20 years to deploy ever more sophisticated, faster and higher-capacity networks, and uphold net neutrality protections for all,” USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter wrote in a statement. “To continue this important work, there is no question we will aggressively challenge state or municipal attempts to fracture the federal regulatory structure that made all this progress possible.”
At the moment, USTelecom has not mentioned any specific lawsuit yet. However, its statement of “aggressively challenge state or municipal attempts” indicates that it is bent on challenging any state that plans to circumvent FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules by enacting its own set of legislation within its border.
Washington already passed its own net neutrality law in February this year. It was probably the first state to have done so after FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules.
However, it appears that Washington is not alone as other states are reported to be already planning a similar course of action after FCC’s repeal. While it was the first to successfully pass the bill across both chambers in its state, legislators across 25 states are already in the process of passing their own set of net neutrality laws.
While the average internet user might not be unaware, the repeal of net neutrality rules will inevitably affect the browsing experience of everyone. The rules were put in place to ensure that the internet continue to enable and protect the freedom of speech, where content of all kinds are treated equally.
With net neutrality rules, ISPs are prohibited from prioritizing some websites and content over the rest. One can imagine what happens after the repeal takes effect, “companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to call all the shots, and decide which websites, content and applications succeed.”
Fortunately, some companies continue to uphold the principle of net neutrality whether or not regulations are in place; it’s just the right thing to do. For instance, dnet will continue to treat every content or site equally, regardless of what eventually comes out of the FCC repeal.