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The main thing about the battle for net neutrality in the U.S. — a chronology of events and the current state of things
Material posted: Publication date: 06-09-2019
At the end of 2017, the Federal communications Commission (FCC) abolished the legal requirements imposed by the rule of net neutrality. The decision caused heated discussions in the media and even two years later politicians and it companies are still trying to influence the FCC to reverse their decision reversed. Tell about the formation of network neutrality and its "fall" and discuss whether he has a chance to return.

First steps to network neutrality

Net neutrality is the concept that telecommunications companies are not allowed to differentiate traffic from different sources. For example, the ISP has the right to block access to the sites and give priority to any type of content.

Issues of net neutrality in the Internet the FCC was asked in the middle of zero. At that time formed large conglomerates such as AOL Time Warner and Comcast NBC Universal. These organizations had large-scale computing infrastructure, controlled a significant portion of the market and can, if desired, to limit access of users to services of competitors (e.g. email or chat).

The FCC tried to eliminate the latter scenario. In 2005, the Chairman of the Commission, Kevin Martin (Kevin Martin) have formulated four rules for telecommunications companies and Internet service providers. These rules were supposed to maintain a healthy competition in the market.

  1. The right of access to legal content of their choice.
  2. The right to freely run applications;
  3. The right to freely connect devices to the network;
  4. Entitled to competition among network providers, application vendors and services.

New principles were nothing more than recommendations and was not legislated. As expected, some providers prefer to ignore them. Literally in 2005, the local provider Madison River Communications closed its subscribers ' access to VoIP service, Vonage, which compete with its own app. A similar story happened in 2007 with Comcast. The operator slowed the exchange of client files via the BitTorrent Protocol on their network. This behavior caused inconvenience to customers and also created a "bias" in a competitive market in favor of network owners.

The courts with the Telecom companies

As a non-binding recommendation has not led to the desired result, the FCC decided to go the other way and in 2009 adopted the formal rules of net neutrality. Document the Commission approved in 2010but to take effect it before.

Internet service providers immediately opposed the new order. Net neutrality has limited capacity and is obliged to provide the same level of service to users of all services (even competing). Largest provider of America Verizon appealed to the court, where he said that the FCC has no right to regulate the work of operators. A little later, to a claim Verizon has joined other operator — MetroPCS. At the time he was in the top-5 carriers by number of subscribers.

The trial was four years old, in the end, the winner was Verizon. Although the FCC had the right to appeal the decision, for whatever reason, the representatives of the organization decided not to continue the fight. But they were soon forced to reconsider.

The reaction of the public

Issuing a ruling in favor of Verizon, a US court actually allowed providers to prioritize traffic and to take money from companies for "premium" terms in their networks. In turn, this could affect the cost of different services (e.g., streaming platforms), which are paid users.

About what threatens the abolition of net neutrality, started to announce a major media — Forbes, CNN and Business Insider — and the headquarters of the FCC , protesters have gathered. To the citizens joined in it company — Google, Twitter, Facebook and Netflix. Many sites held the Day of slow Internet — pages of large Internet resources were specifically slowed down to draw attention to the problem. My opinion on the matter was expressed even the President Barack Obama. It made for tougher requirements for providers.

/ CC BY-SA / Free Press

In the end, the FCC has worked updated set of net neutrality rules, which were under a more stringent legal justification. He was banned providers:

  • to block legal applications, services and devices;
  • slow working of the services;
  • to provide priority access services on a fee basis.

The rules adopted in 2015. But Internet providers and members of the Republican party (who initially was against net neutrality) were not going to concede.

Short life of net neutrality

First, the providers have tried to negotiate with the FCC and come to some kind of compromise. But all attempts were in vain. Then a group of telecommunication companies filed a new lawsuit. The hearings lasted for several months, but network neutrality "survived". This decision called a "final victory for net neutrality".

In practice it turned out differently. In 2016, the end was coming presidential term of Barack Obama as the new head of state became a Republican Donald trump. Therefore, the FCC Chairman appointed the personsharing the views of the Republican party — Ajit Pai (Ajit Pai). Previously, he has voted against net neutrality and has remained true to its opinion. Almost immediately after taking office, he announced that the Commission is prepared to reconsider its decision on network neutrality.

/ PD / The White House

Despite the fact that the community criticized the new vector of development chosen by the FCC, the Commission has prepared a document, which abolished the rule in 2015. It turned out that net neutrality has existed for only two years.

How are things going with net neutrality today

Problems with the discrimination of traffic began to appear almost immediately after the abolition of net neutrality. On the same day the FCC announced its decision, Comcast started offering a paid service to prioritize traffic for sites (at least from the company portal is missing information that such service is not provided). However, according to tests conducted by engineers from northeastern University, all mobile operators have started to slow the speed of the Internet connection for streaming services.

The problem already noticed in the House of representatives of the United States. In April of this year, politicians approved a billthat needs to restore the net neutrality rules from 2015. His fate is in the hands of the Senate, which has the final word. However, the bill is likely to be rejected. Against him has already made the Republican majority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell (Mitch McConnell) — he called the document "viable".

But still the hope remains that the politicians will change their minds under public pressure. For example, with a request to return and fix the rules of net neutrality at the Federal level, the Senate addressed a large group of musicians Tom Morello, Michael Stipe and Talib kveli. Publish treatment and local media such as Chicago Tribune.

Given previous experience, there is reason to believe that the FCC once again change his mind, if the Republican party loses the upcoming elections, and in place of Ajit Pai will come to the head of the Democrats.


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