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FACT CHECK: Will the FCC’s net neutrality repeal grind the internet to a halt?


03.05.18

The rhetoric around net neutrality has gotten heated, but here’s the truth: we are simply proposing to return the internet to the same framework that governed it from the mid-1990s until 2014. If you listened to the rhetoric, you might think the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order is the end of the internet as we know it.

However, fact checkers at The Washington Post gave three Pinocchios to claims that net neutrality repeal would result in an imminent internet slowdown for consumers.

Read more below…

Will the FCC’s net neutrality repeal grind the Internet to a halt?

“If we don’t save net neutrality, you’ll get the Internet one word at a time.”
U.S. Senate Democrats, in a tweet, Feb. 27, 2018

This clever tweet caught our eye because each word is separated by paragraph breaks, giving readers a bitter taste of what it’s like to scroll through the Internet one word at a time.

It also set off our antennae because of the sweeping claim Democrats are making — that consumers will see a sharp drop in Internet speeds if the Federal Communications Commission proceeds with its plan to unwind net neutrality rules imposed under President Barack Obama in 2015.

Led by a new chairman chosen by President Trump, the FCC voted to roll back the Obama-era rules and relinquish oversight of Internet service providers to the Federal Trade Commission.

Supporters say that by lifting the burden of net neutrality regulations, companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will invest in their networks, improve service and expand to underserved and rural areas. Critics say that absent regulations, Internet providers have free rein to slow down certain websites or features — video streaming, for example — or speed up websites and services willing to pay more for Internet “fast lanes.”

. . .

For now, though, there’s scant evidence that Internet users should brace for a slowdown. Yet the Democrats’ tweet conveys the false impression that a slowdown is imminent unless net neutrality rules are restored. This transmission error merits Three Pinocchios, but we will monitor the situation and update our ruling depending on whether the fears were overstated or came true.

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