Killing Net Neutrality Was Even Worse Than You Think

The FCC’s controversial move didn’t just kill rules for an open internet — it opened the door to broadband monopolies ripping consumers off with relative impunity

Karl Bode
OneZero
Published in
6 min readNov 20, 2019

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Credit: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

WWhen most people think about last year’s controversial repeal of net neutrality, they likely assume that the rules meant to protect an open internet were the only casualty. In the year since, the telecom sector and its defenders have tried to argue that because the internet didn’t immediately implode in a glorious fireball post-net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal must not have been that big of a deal.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

The FCC’s Orwellian-named “Restoring Internet Freedom” order certainly did kill rules preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from abusing their broadband monopolies to harm competitors and consumers. And it did so in a flurry of controversy and fraud, all while ignoring the opinions of a bipartisan majority of Americans who wanted to keep net neutrality in place.

But the industry-backed repeal quietly had a much broader objective: It all-but obliterated the FCC’s authority to hold ISPs accountable for any number of other bad behaviors. Instead, it…

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Karl Bode
OneZero

Seattle-based freelance writer with a focus on tech, tech policy, and consumer rights.