Posted April 12, 2020 14:01:03The Internet has been in a rough spot for some time now.
Just last month, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reclassify broadband Internet as a utility, giving it greater authority to regulate the network.
In February, the FCC voted to roll back net neutrality rules, which the FCC said it would consider reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecommunications service under Title II.
That decision is a huge win for Internet service providers (ISPs) and their supporters, who say it will give them greater control over who can and cannot access the Internet.
But it also comes with its own set of challenges.
For one thing, the Internet is still a massive, largely unregulated, public utility that’s dominated by a handful of companies.
ISPs are the ones who get paid to deliver and maintain the infrastructure.
The Internet is a giant playground, where the rules of the game are defined by the whims of an invisible, unaccountable board of regulators.
And while ISPs can be aggressive in their pursuit of new deals and investments, those deals and deals often take years to negotiate and are often far from final.
For that reason, even if a company can negotiate a deal with the FCC, there’s always the chance that regulators could eventually decide to roll it back.
That would force ISPs to either renegotiate their terms or face a new set of regulatory hurdles that would limit their ability to grow and expand.
For consumers, it can be particularly challenging to figure out exactly what the rules mean, because it’s not always clear what the terms of a deal actually are.
That means consumers have no way to know if the deal is a good one or a bad one, or whether it would be in the public interest.
In a new report , the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog found that there are plenty of issues around the net neutrality debate that consumers don’t know about.
For example, the Consumer Watchdogs report says, a few ISPs have made promises about how they plan to deliver the Internet to their customers, but it’s unclear what the actual terms are.
Consumers are also missing out on a whole range of data and usage caps, which is a major issue because they’re charged for these caps.
Consumer Watchdog’s report says the FCC has yet to finalize its proposed rule that would reclassification broadband as an open Internet service, which would allow it to require ISPs to give consumers more choice and control over how they use the Internet by regulating how data is routed.
The FCC has said it intends to finalise its reclassifications rules in mid-April.