Net Neutrality under threat: ISP transparency rules suspended by the FCC

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

02 March 2017

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission, the US body that regulates international and interstate online communications, voted to roll back certain Net Neutrality regulations for broadband providers.

The transparency requirements in question forced ISPs with fewer than 250,000 subscribers to keep their customers informed about their network management practices. Previously, ISPs with fewer than 100,000 were exempt from these rules, but last week’s vote expands this exemption to include the vast majority of US broadband providers.

Only around 20 US ISPs currently have over 250,000 subscribers. This means that the majority of broadband consumers now have no right to be informed when and why their providers are, for example, throttling web traffic.

The anti-regulation argument is that compliance is too costly for ISPs, but the White House Office of Management and Budget under the Obama administration found that it cost ISPs only 7 hours of work a year.

The fallout is that users may soon have fewer and fewer ways to stay informed about the practices of their broadband providers. This in particular forms part of a much wider assault on Net Neutrality from the newly Republican-controlled FCC, and whether or not Net Neutrality will survive for much longer remains to be seen.

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