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14th Dec 2017

America has made a fundamental, damaging change to how people will have access to the internet

Rory Cashin


The majority of Americans did not want this change made to their service.

During his time as President, Barack Obama set up certain net neutrality regulations, which essentially did not allow for internet providers to slow down your access to certain sites, or charge for a higher speed access to your favourite sites.

Thanks to Obama, American internet users did not have to pay more to get on to Facebook or Netflix and then chew their own faces off in exasperation as the buffering sign spins endlessly every five minutes or so.

Today, however, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 in favour of dismantling these regulations, and the fear is spreading that America may be paving the way for other countries (including Ireland) to do the exact same thing.

Ajit Pai was appointed a commissioner within the FCC by Barack Obama, but has been a long-time and very public critic of net neutrality. Trump then made Pai the chairman of the organisation, and today Pai stated “We are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for much of its existence. This is not going to destroy the internet. It’s not going to end the internet as we know it. It’s not going to end democracy.”

Out of the FCC’s commissioners panel, two of them are democrats (the same two who also happen to be the only women), against the three republican members, and one of democrats, Mignon Clyburn, had this to say about today’s vote: “I am among the millions outraged. Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”

The vote is in direct contrast to what most Americans actually want from their internet provider, with the glimmer of good news at the end of the tunnel being that the over-turning of the ruling still has to go to court, where it has already been denied twice.

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