Net neutrality shook in the Donald Trump administration, which begins to reestablish itself in the Biden government. Some new facts are defining change. The decision of a federal judge in California this week against the major Internet service providers (ISPs) was the most significant. Organizations representing ISPs have asked the judge to grant an injunction that prohibits a law that prevents the imposition of net neutrality (or the open Internet). But the judge ruled that the law could apply.
Why are California laws being favored by other states? Because the decision was made by a federal judge – and not by a state judge, meaning it is valid for the entire country. At least 33 of the 50 states in the United States are ready to pass their own legislation. In fact, Washington State has already given your approval. The rest were waiting for what would happen in California. One by one, states can be prevented from ending the open Internet until the federal government takes its step.
But the federal government is already moving forward. The first step was taken by the Biden government’s Department of Justice (DoJ), which dropped a lawsuit filed by the Trump administration against California law. Next would be to change the structure of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which today has three Republican and two Democratic advisors, as soon as possible. In 2017, this Republican majority rescinded the rules of the Barack Obama administration, which in 2015, created net neutrality. Soon, a Democratic majority would nullify the repeal.
The question in the court is to be decided on merit. For now, the federal judge has denied the injunction requested by the organizations on the basis that the organizations’ claims at trial are unlikely. If the FCC has no power to regulate broadband Internet, it also has no power to prevent states from regulating it. In the opinion of the judge, Congress, not the judiciary, should resolve this issue, Ars Tehinika, gives Wired I do Washington Post.
Four organizations took action: American Cable Association, CTIA-The Wireless Association, NCTA-The Internet and Television Association and USTELCOM. They represent major ISPs such as A&T, Comcast, Verizon and Charter. Against them are large companies that rely on the Internet, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Netflix, the Biden government and consumers. According to polls, 83% of Americans are opposed to ending net neutrality – including 3 in 4 Republican voters.
The end of net neutrality, as envisioned by the FCC, allows Internet providers to create “fast lanes”, “slow lanes” and “blocked lanes” on the network, binding users and owners of websites and applications. For, as well as provider content competitors, to pay a sort of “toll” to travel freely on the Internet. That is, whoever pays the “fee” will have fast internet, whoever does not pay will have slow internet or their content may be blocked.
The regulation passed by the Obama administration was intended to classify the Internet as a public service, such as a telephone service. Telephone companies cannot speed, slow down or block services according to their interest. And this is exactly what an ISP wants: to change the Internet from a public service to a commercial service, just like any other service. California law, like others, is designed to guarantee “equal traffic” to the Internet.