FCC Votes to Uphold The Restoring Internet Freedom Order

By Noah Vehafric

Today the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in support of an order that would uphold their original Restoring Internet Freedom Order after it was reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  

The Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) Order was the FCC’s plan back in 2018 to maintain the open internet while increasing its performance by remove restrictive regulations – which have been barriers to innovation. 

When the order was first proposed, all sorts of scaremongering headlines exploded across the internet. The now famous “End of the Internet as we know it” headline by CNN and fears that ISP’s would price gouge consumers so heavily, they’d could only afford the Internet “one word at a time”.  

If only the opposition had enough self-reflection to understand that since the order’s implementation, network speeds have increased and connectivity has actually expanded despite huge surges in traffic due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the cost of broadband has DECREASED.  

The Order was challenged in Court and went to the D.C. Circuit court. The Court largely upheld the Order, but remanded certain sections of it back to the FCC for further clarification. 

In their October Open Meeting The Commission voted 3-2 in support of an order that addressed the points of clarification the D.C. Circuit requested. Particularly ensuring that public safety organizations can continue to operate unhindered, classification of broadband as an information service, and the FCC’s legal authority in regards to the Lifeline program. 

As the American economy grows and the demand for faster and more reliable internet grows a long with it, the path set forth by the FCC restoring internet freedom order will be key to meet those demands. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was correct to quote Margaret Thatcher in today’s meeting: “Now’s not the time for a turnaround.” Don’t let the fear mongering about “net neutrality” detract from the progress that has already occurred.