Net Neutrality Rules Died Today

Saul Franklin
June 13, 2018

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai spearheaded the repeal of the agency's net-neutrality rules.

Companies like Comcast and Verizon can now speed up, slow down or block specific websites or online services. ISPs formerly made the case that net neutrality failed to allow them to recoup the costs incurred in linking their networks to content providers, often citing Netflix, which consumes a double-digit percentage of all Internet traffic in the United States during peak hours.

For instance, both the ISPs and the FCC have claimed that net neutrality has hurt investment.

The internet probably won't immediately become (more of) a dystopian nightmare. "These positive and profound benefits of a free and open internet - among many others - are here to stay".

Pai's primary defense of the FCC's new lax rules on ISPs is the "transparency rule", which requires ISPs to notify consumers of any policies that violate previous Net Neutrality guidelines.

Over the past six months, tech companies, small businesses, consumers and lawmakers have tried to prevent Monday's repeal from happening, but to no avail.

Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change - though not right away - following Monday's official repeal of Obama-era internet protections.

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"Congress can still overrule the FCC and restore net neutrality", said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight For the Future, which as advocated for strong net neutrality rules.

In essence, the rules attempted to ensure a level playing field so that ISPs wouldn't favor their own services (in particular streaming video) over those by third parties by throttling and charging extra for certain traffic.

Net neutrality, which once required internet service providers to treat all online content the same, is now gone starting Monday. ISPs will have to disclose any changes they make as part of the deregulation, so consumers should have access to updated information about data caps, paid prioritization or any other changes a service provider may make.

The Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules last month. Many Democrats say the issue will help motivate younger people to vote in congressional elections this November, when all 435 seats in the House and a third of the 100-member Senate will be up for grabs.

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal.

Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. OR passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports. If House net neutrality supporters can get those last votes, which is unlikely, the decision would still need to be signed by President Trump who is expected to veto it if it ever came to that.

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