There’s a ton of tech news to get to! Maybe you didn’t get to it all, because who’s got time for that? Well, that’d be us — here are a handful of stories from the week that was that might affect you!
Net neutrality repealed
In a move that saw feverish resistance for the past few weeks, the Ajit Pai-led FCC has voted to repeal the net neutrality rules put in place in 2015 under President Obama. The commission’s five members voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the rules, which mandated that internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast must ensure that traffic from all sources is handled equally. Repealing the rules will allow those service providers to make deals with content providers like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon to ensure that their content is prioritized on those internet services.
The move was protested by citizens and internet companies alike. It’s not too surprising that Netflix, Facebook, and Google were opposed — repealing the rules almost chiefly benefits those service providers, who can now start charging them to serve their content to users faster. That means the telecoms will be cutting into the content creator’s profits, which will probably end how it usually ends — users paying more.
How the net neutrality repeal will hurt small businesses — including anyone who sells things on sites like Etsy pic.twitter.com/T6CyCNAJ1Z
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) December 17, 2017
It’s unlikely that the move will change anything in the near term — the horror scenarios of paying for internet packages like you would cable probably won’t happen in the next couple of years. Here’s where things could get scary — when 5G networks start appearing. The dramatically faster speeds and lower latency of those new networks will provide telecoms with the perfect opportunity to start offering package deals for faster access to content providers.
In theory, that could help consumers by allowing for lower-cost packages guaranteeing faster speeds for only the sites that a user wants to access. But, that’s probably too rosy — there are very few service providers available in most places in the country, so like it’s always been, consumers will have to accept what’s given to them by the dominant players like Verizon and Comcast. Meanwhile, small online businesses could be threatened by an inability to score those plum priority deals with the service providers, as they won’t have the money to compete with a Netflix or a Disney.
— Slate (@Slate) December 17, 2017
Of course, that’s all if the rules stay gone. It’s expected that individual states will sue for the rights to make and enforce their own rules, and the repeal itself needs to clear the Office of Management and Budget, although that is expected to happen sometime in the next few months.