The US Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to overturn the 2015 'net neutrality' rule, which prohibits internet service providers (ISPs) for blocking, throttling or prioritising Internet traffic.
This was originally put in place in 2015 over fears that ISPs would start charging more money for certain services, meaning slower game downloads on online marketplaces if, say, Steam didn't pay ISPs for a premium service, or perhaps customers having to purchase a 'Gamer' bundle to get access.
The FCC voted to overturn the rule with a 3-2 majority, and it's particularly bad news for gamers as, in addition to the growing digital drift, gamers rely on high speed and bandwith to play games online successfully. If the rule is overturned, ISP's might start to be more predatory in monetising groups that have a need for high speed connections. Obviously, this is a negative.
In a statement, the FCC said: "The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years."
"Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC's 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem... The framework adopted by the Commission today will protect consumers at far less cost to investment than the prior rigid and wide-ranging utility rules. And restoring a favorable climate for network investment is key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers."
The ACLU has pledged to fight the repeal, as has New York attorney general A.G. Schneiderman, in addition to many other state's attorney generals.
"Today's new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade high quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money," Schneiderman said in a statement about the repeal.
"Even worse, today's vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others."
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet as we know it, spoke out in 2006 in support of net neutrality. It's basically his internet, so if he says it's a bad thing it's probably a bad thing.