United States officially repeals net neutrality rules

Saul Franklin
June 15, 2018

The new rules approved by lawmakers who were heavily paid by the ISP lobbyists also take the oversight powers away from the more powerful and resourceful FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

Pai argued that net neutrality created a disincentive for internet services to invest in their networks.

Pai says that by deregulating the internet service provider industry, there will now be "strong consumer protections" and that "entrepreneurs [will get] the information they need as they develop new products and services".

The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules was voted on previous year, and it finally comes into effect today (June 11). In other words, no speeding up, slowing down or blocking specific websites or online services.

The broadband providers typically frame this issue as wanting to be able to give special treatment to certain applications, where having extremely low lag times could mean the difference between life and death.

Ajit Pai, who chairs the FCC, was known to oppose net neutrality and in the past had said it was a brake on innovation. Under the new rules, these giant private companies will have the ability to privilege some content over other content, establish packages that allow access to only certain sites based on what consumers pay, or block websites and services altogether. That tactic, which experts call "paid prioritization", runs the risk of creating an uneven playing field where big, dominant Internet companies can afford the fast lanes while start-ups or small businesses get left behind, net neutrality activists say. "I think that's insane". "Democrats are fighting in the courts and in the Congress to protect Americans' interests and restore these vital protections, and we will continue to demand a vote on Congressman Mike Doyle's resolution to force a vote to restore net neutrality".

For example, say you're an AT&T customer.

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The change comes as broadband and cellphone providers expand their efforts to deliver video and other content to consumers. "Whatever makes the guy in the White House happy, that's what they're going to do".

Now that net neutrality is gone, AT&T can slow down your streaming on Hulu and speed it up for Netflix. With startups unable to pay for these lanes, there is no chance that small, unsupported entrepreneurs will turn into future Snapchats or Facebooks, as this repeal only preserves the monopoly that the handful of tech giants now enjoys along with the powers of a few ISPs.

Lori Miller, with activist group Indivisible Rapid City, believes dumping Net Neutrality was a mistake.

Net Neutrality rules are rolling back today.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some USA states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws. In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

There are many outspoken opponents of the FCC's move, though, including state governments, tech companies, rights groups and attorneys general.

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