Net Neutrality is no longer. The regulation, supported by 80% of Americans and enforced by the FCC to ensure that ISPs treated all websites equally, was repealed exactly a month ago. The change has been so subtle, however, you may have missed it—for now. In addition, several states have taken steps to enforce the regulation locally. And, as a last resort, 21 states have filed suit against the FCC for its revoking of the regulation.
So it comes as a bit of shock to the system to see reporting from The Times of India that India’s legislature today approved its own set of net neutrality principles, along with “stiff penalties” for those who fail to abide the new rules.
The process had started in motion last November when India’s telecom authority, the TRAI, proposed principle of strong net neutrality, arguing ISPs should not be allowed to engage in “any form of discrimination or interference” in handling online content. This is about the same time our own debates on net neutrality were heating up.
Today, India’s highest telecommunications body, the Telecom Commission, formally approved the proposed rules, putting in place the very structure we (or, Ajit Pai) were only too happy to be rid of. It will be interesting now to watch how internet policy—both public and private—diverge from this point on. Let’s hope we end up more informed on the matter than envious.
Meanwhile, in other net neutrality news, the latest probable addition to the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh wrote in a 2017 decision that “net neutrality is unlawful and must be vacated.” He seems to have gotten his wish for now, but the real import is, should the aforementioned cases against the FCC make their way to the Supreme Court, he will certainly have an outsized say as to how they are decided.