The Federal Communications Commission announced on Tuesday that it plans to end net neutrality, a landmark set of regulations that allow equal access to the internet, according to The New York Times.
The decision paves the way for companies to charge more or block access to websites.
The FCC’s repeal ends the regulations set out by the Obama administration, which “prohibited high-speed internet service providers from blocking or slowing down the delivery websites, or charging extra fees for the best quality of streaming and other internet services for their subscribers,” The New York Times reported.
So what does it mean for you? Take a look at Portugal.
Portugal similarly doesn’t have net neutrality, which gives internet providers a chance to split the internet into packages, as this one tweet from Ro Khanna, an academic and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, explains:
Khanna, who advocated to save net neutrality, said that there’s an advantage for companies, but startups will struggle to get their content in front of people.
“(That’s) a huge advantage for entrenched companies, but it totally ices out startups trying to get in front of people which stifles innovation,” he wrote. “This is what’s at stake and that’s why we have to save net neutrality.”
Quartz further delved into the Portugal model, saying that the country’s “mobile internet is bundled like a cable package.”
Basically, Portugal offers customers data plans that are limited to specific apps. One might include social media apps, while others contain emailing and messaging apps. People would then have to pay more for faster internet, or certain apps and websites.
All this is to say telecom giants, like AT&T and Comcast, will emerge from winners of this fight. These companies have lobbied for a long time to end net neutrality.
Meanwhile, companies and internet sites will struggle to make sure their websites are seen iby customers.
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
Former Democratic FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said the movie is tragic, according to The Washington Post.
"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer," he said in an interview. "Tragically, this decision is only for the benefit of the largely monopoly services that deliver the internet to the consumer."