Despite an avid broadband community where big companies like AT&T and Verizon joined up to stop the FCC’s bid to better regulate the way the Internet is run, it looks like the Title II regulations that were passed back in February will officially begin tomorow. Opponents of Title II regulation of the Internet, or better known as Net Neutrality, have consistently pleaded with the FCC and finally with courts after the new rules were passed in February to have the ruling dismissed. This ruling essentially makes it illegal for internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and others to regulate Internet traffic or prioritize types of traffic over others.
This means services that offer enhanced speeds for different types of traffic, like video or music, will likely no longer be allowed to run. Service providers have used this tactic of prioritizing traffic to keep data rates reasonable, even during peak times. According to providers this has helped stave off the effects and cost of having to constantly upgrade the network backend, leaving customers with healthier bills and faster speeds in the long run. Some opponents have gone so far as to give end of the world scenarios, like CTIA for instance who warns of investment into mobile networks disappearing almost entirely if the rules weren’t stopped. Proponents of Net Neutrality have pointed out that many of these traffic prioritization single out the big companies and give them an unfair advantage simply because they can pay for “fast lanes” over the little guys, making the big services inherently seem like better ones.
The FCC has used this angle to push Net Neutrality and has ridden it to the end, eventually winning out in court today as a stay has been denied by a Federal judge, meaning full Net Neutrality rules begin tomorrow. This doesn’t mean the battle is over though, just that the rules have to begin within a few hours. This opens the door to complaints to the FCC against ISPs, as the FCC is there to regulate fairness in the market and will have to do its due diligence if complaints are rendered. It’s likely we’ll see these complaints from companies that provide services and feel that ISPs aren’t upgrading the equipment they need to be in order to provide good levels of service. As this is going to be causing a lot of news in the coming weeks we’ll be sure to keep you up to date as it breaks, so be sure to hold on to your hats in the morning!