U.S. FCC repeal of Net Neutrality will have global consequences

Australian digital rights advocates today condemned the decision of the United States Federal Communications Commission to dismantle the agency’s 2015 Open Internet Order which required internet service providers to treat all internet traffic equally.

“Net neutrality is a mechanism that is so necessary to ensure that the internet remains a place of free, open, and accessible platform for expression and engagement,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton.

“Today’s decision to repeal is an attack on the ability of U.S citizens to engage in their digital rights, and will have far-reaching impacts. The precedents set within the U.S. will have a negative impact on the freedom of expression of internet users across the world, as well as damaging the innovation and entrepreneurial characteristics of the internet as a whole.”

“Access to a free and open internet is a human right upheld by the United Nations, and Net Neutrality is a strong, effective mechanism towards ensuring these rights are protected. Without this in place as a key principle to how the internet should operate, service providers will undoubtedly look for any opportunity to squeeze consumers into restrictive and a ‘user-pays’ arrangement for access. This is not how the internet should operate.”

“If we are to see a global rollback of Net Neutrality, it risks undermining our strong Australian value of fairness. Everyday Australian families shouldn’t have inferior access to the internet, particularly while we continue to struggle to achieve even an adequate rollout of a National Broadband Network.”

“The Australian Government should move immediately to enact our own domestic Net Neutrality measures, to ensure that our own citizens are not disadvantaged by this decision,” he concluded.