The Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-2 vote, repealed the Obama-era legislation that gave broadband internet Title II utility status. The move, championed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly, allows internet service providers to throttle speeds, charge money for access to websites, and restrict access to streaming services.
Many users of the internet are displeased by the move. The folks at Lifehacker.com are clearly not fans of the new normal and have written an article that aims to help users find their way around the new charges and limitations.
“It might be time for you to switch internet providers before [the changes] happen,” they write. “If you don’t know where to start, Mapbox is here to help you find out if any other providers exist in your area.”
Mapbox has done more than just grouse about the changes. They’ve compiled a tool that will show you all of the available providers in your area.Their interactive map will show you the number of available ISPs, and will also show you what services they provide.
“ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have voiced their support for FCC Chairman Pai’s repeal of the legislation promoting net neutrality,” Lifehacker notes, “despite numerous assurances from Pai that ISPs would be fair and dissuaded from charging its customers more money due to the fear of losing customers.”
The fear of increased charges, especially for those who require internet access to work, is something many will be forced to live with. The majority of people in the country still live in areas with few competitive options for internet access.
For the rest of internet users, the ones who can’t (or won’t) be bothered to pay more, the internet is about to become much slower.
At the root of this debate is an ongoing conversation between those who provide access to the web and those who provide the content on the web. Those who rely on the internet had hoped that utility status might protect the status quo. It has not.
Will some providers listen to their customers and keep prices and speeds as they are?That remains to be seen.