Youth Caucus of America is deeply disappointed to see that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has repealed net neutrality regulations, initially implemented in 2015. The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday to reverse the agency’s decision during the Obama administration. These regulations were made to ensure ISPs treated all web traffic equally.

Before net neutrality regulations, Internet Service Providers (ISP) were able to restrict customer access to certain content providers. This happened in 2012 when AT&T blocked access to Apple FaceTime unless customers were willing to pay for a different internet plan, quoting concerns that FaceTime would overstress their mobile networks. The recent vote to repeal net neutrality will allow ISPs to deliver different content at different speeds and potentially charge content providers or consumers more for faster delivery speeds, a concept called paid prioritization. If ISPs begin to charge consumers for accessing content at reasonable speeds, it could hurt small businesses and low income communities that cannot afford these charges. And although the 2010 FCC Open Internet Order still prevents ISPs from blocking or discriminating lawful content, this repeal could hurt all Americans because it has the ability to limit a truly open and free internet.

The net neutrality repeal isn’t scheduled to take effect until some time next year. The issue will likely see legal action, and Congress may step in via the Congressional Review Act or alternative legislation. We encourage all readers to contact your officials and share your thoughts on this repeal.

Written by: Karen Orona