The battle for network neutrality: two and a half years Net Neutrality

On April 2? the rules of network neutrality in the US will be finally abolished.
With the approach of this day, relations between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which voted for the abolition, and the opponents of this decision are becoming increasingly hot. Now the FCC in court is opposed by dozens of parties, including technology companies, individuals and even entire states. In anticipation of the transition to a new era without network neutrality, we suggest returning to the history of the issue. We have already traced sources network neutrality, talked about first local conflicts authorities and operators and moved to serious protests and ships .
Now let's pay attention to the short period during which the rules operated in the United States.
The battle for network neutrality: two and a half years Net Neutrality

/Flickr / Free Press / CC BY

Short epoch of network neutrality

It's 2015 now. The FCC was in an uncertain position. The head of the Commission remained Tom Wheeler (Tom Wheeler), "a supporter of cable companies." On the same post he appointed President Obama, who He expressed support for ideas of network neutrality. Already in January, Wheeler chose the side - during CES-201? he announced the reclassification of the activities of Internet providers. This meant that the FCC's position coincided with the demands of the neutrality supporters.
The first important date in the history of the issue in 2015 is February 26. On this day, Commission conducted a vote of , as a result of which the United States adopted the recently acting approach. Members of the FCC voted to reclassify broadband and, as noted by the initiative organization Public Knowledge, "against blockages and discrimination."
The new rules are proclaimed the ban on:
blocking of legal applications, services, devices;
slowing the performance of any applications or services;
paid provision of a priority channel to any applications or services.
Defenders of network neutrality have achieved their goal, but on the side of the opponents of the new rules are still remained Republicans and Internet providers, so the conflict was not exhausted.
To begin with, telecommunications companies attempted negotiate with the FCC. The rules were approved in February, but before the entry into force, there were several months, during which large providers offered to stop the reclassification. The companies already agreed with the three main bans and, as it might seem, they were looking for a compromise. The commission was adamant. As they wrote in Arstechnica, the providers were not able to convince the FCC that they can really win in court.
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of the United States is still filed a lawsuit to the FCC, when the dialogue has reached a dead end. The new rules were called "arbitrariness and caprice" by representatives. Gigi Sohn, head of the Public Knowledge and advocate for the FCC at the time, said that litigation after the vote was "inevitable", so this step of the providers did not come as a surprise.
In June 201? the Federal Court of Justice rejected attempts telecommunications companies to stop the reclassification, and the rules of network neutrality came into effect. However, this did not stop opponents of the idea in political and commercial circles - litigation continued. Hearings in the District Court of Appeal were assigned at the end of the year. They depended on the future of the Internet - the judges at that time could overrule the decisions of the FCC. For three hours the defense of the Commission proved its right for reclassification. The court relied on the landmark the "Brand X" solution from 200? which allowed the FCC to independently choose the classification, but the judges doubted the statement that wireless and broadband services are "functionally equivalent".
The hearing was concluded, and the final decision was was rendered only in half a year. On June 1? 201? the Federal Court of Appeal fully supported the rules of network neutrality. This was the third time that the FCC had to defend the principles of "equal Internet" in court. From now on, the rules of network neutrality turned out to be equal both to wireline operators and to wireless communications. Despite the fact that there was still one more court, there was a June decision of called "The ultimate victory of network neutrality."

The beginning of the end of network neutrality is

Telecommunication companies again went to court in July - this time to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Their request remained the same: to abolish the rules prohibiting restricting or regulating access to services and sites. Vice President of Telecom giant AT & T said: "We have always believed that this issue will be resolved by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in the appeal."
At the same time, the presidential term of Barack Obama was coming to an end, and preparation for was in full swing. elections . In November, the people of the United States elected head of state Donald Trump, a member of the Republican Party, who opposed the decision of the FCC. A month after the election, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Commission, at which the rules of network neutrality were adopted, early resigned .
Mass media began to argue The future of the FCC, suggesting that the new head of the Commission will be a person who shares the views of Republicans. The likely contender for the post was called FCC member Ajit Pai (Ajit Pai), known for his criticism of network neutrality. So it happened - in January, the decision of Trump Pai was appointed Chairman of the Commission.
/Wikipedia / Federal Communications Commission / CC
Pai stands for a free market. The rules adopted by the Democrats in recent years, he called "weeds that restrain investment, innovation and job creation." In 201? he voted against the adoption of the rules and remained consistent with the issue.
A month after taking office, Ajit Pai publicly stated that network neutrality was "a mistake," and the Commission is ready to return to a much freer regulation of the industry. Detailed plan of Pai presented in April. It became known that the FCC will abandon the classification adopted in 2015 and, possibly, from the other established principles.
A few weeks earlier representatives of such technology companies as Facebook, Google and Amazon, met with Ajit Pai to express his support for network neutrality and to achieve its preservation. However, the Commission chose a different vector of development.
Like two years earlier , the public sharply reacted to the actions of the FCC. The host of the evening show is John Oliver ( ). again recalled about the threat of refusal from the rules of network neutrality (for the first time he did it on air in 2014). Users are again arranged an online protest , flooding the Commission's website comments. Petition in defense of network neutrality has collected more than 2 million signatures.
Despite the fact that US residents, technology companies and initiative groups actively expressed their disagreement with the FCC policy, by November was ready draft of a document repealing the rules of 2015. Broadband communication was proposed to be viewed not as a telecommunications service, but as an information service, and three of the established prohibitions lost their validity. Ajit Pai stated that with the "Internet everything was in order in 2015", and no additional regulation was required. On December 1? 201? most members of the Commission supported this view and voted for 3-3-3190. cancellation of the rules
network neutrality.
Ajit Pye stated that "Americans will continue to have access to the sites they want to visit and the services they want to use." However, not all share the optimism of the chairman of the Commission. About what has changed with the decision of the FCC, we will tell in the next article.
Related articles from the corporate blog VAS Experts:
4 ways to save bandwidth
How to give out free Wi-Fi according to the legislation
The main services in the networks of the Internet provider
The previous parts of the story of the Battle for Network Neutrality:
The battle for network neutrality: the history of question
The battle for network neutrality: wars with operators and the first courts
The battle for network neutrality: judicial wars and public protests
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