No, net neutrality is not “officially dead,” today. The FCC repeal has not yet gone into effect. The senate will vote soon on whether to block the repeal. Now’s the time to pay attention!
There have been a lot of inaccurate reports that the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality will officially go into effect today, April 23rd. That’s not true. It’s a bit more complicated than that.
It’s understandable many journalists are confused by this. It’s legitimately confusing. The FCC order said it would go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which would have been April 23rd. But, it still has to be approved by the Office of Management & Budget
There was another FCC filing in the Federal Register that would imply the earliest the Office of Management & Budget could approve this (and it’s worth noting that approval is basically just a technicality) is actually April 27th, but its likely to happen some time after that, possibly even weeks after.
The most important thing for EVERYONE to understand is that nothing catastrophic or dramatic is going to happen immediately when the FCC rules go into effect. Telecom shills will immediately start saying “See? The sky didn’t fall, we never needed Net Neutrality.” They’re lying.
The ISPs aren’t going to immediately start blocking content or rolling out paid prioritization scams. They know Congress and the public are watching them. Rather, the death of net neutrality will be slow and insidious. You might not even notice it at first.
And that’s the worst part. What will happen is over time ISP scams and abuses will become more commonplace and more accepted. They’ll roll out new schemes that appear good on their face but undermine the free market of ideas by allowing ISPs to pick winners and losers.
Over time we’ll see less awesome startups. Less awesome videos. Less diverse online content. And we’ll see more content that our ISPs want us to see. The Internet will be watered down and manipulated. It will change forever in ways that harm our democracy. But it will take time.
So don’t fall for ISP lobbyists talking points. They’re ALREADY claiming that net neutrality was never needed since the sky hasn’t fallen, and the rules haven’t even gone into effect. But also don’t panic. The Internet is not going to die next week. Keep calm and keep fighting. The Senate will vote in a matter of weeks on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the FCC’s repeal. Now is the moment to get engaged.