Net neutrality rules are dead, but fight lives on

The Repeal of Net Neutrality Is Official. Here’s How That Could Affect You.

The Repeal of Net Neutrality Is Official. Here’s How That Could Affect You.

The earlier administration - under President Barack Obama - had asked internet providers to face strict regulations, arguing consumers needed protection from internet provider practices and said internet providers could engage in reasonable conduct.

"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Thursday.

Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N) have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the rules expire. If you want to use Facebook and Twitter? Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC, said on Twitter: "Americans are passionate about the free and open internet".

Ajit Pai, in an op-ed piece published today, championed the end of Net Neutrality regulations. Opponents say this gives Internet providers the power to block competitors and new technologies. Others point out that the FTC, which oversees consumer protection for every corner of the US economy, already has its hands full.

Pai also says that a different agency - the Federal Trade Commission - will "police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices". In reality, the FTC will only be able to enforce a company's own terms and conditions, which won't do anything to stop the spread of paid fast lanes, zero-rating, or anti-competitive behavior across the industry.

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. At least 29 states have introduced more than 65 bills aimed at protecting net neutrality and seven states - Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Oregon and Vermont - enacted executive orders that made it illegal for state agencies to enter contracts with ISPs that don't uphold net neutrality.

Pai told CBS that he doesn't believe regulating the internet in the same way phone networks are regulated is the best way to achieve the goal of a "free and open" internet. And as we've seen with the Netflix-Comcast dispute, these carriers can meddle with traffic, slow it down, throttle it and do so in surreptitious ways that are not easily identifiable, not [easy to] establish who's to blame. Before 2015 The FTC had control over regulating the internet and it was only for the three years that the FCC had control. Consumer advocates are concerned that internet providers plan to extend prioritization to the internet.

Perhaps the repeal won't change the direction of the internet.

Since Pai's passage of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, supporters of net neutrality have taken several approaches to prevent the new rules from going into effect. Siding with AT&T might clear the way for more consolidation, while siding with the government could cause telecom giants to think twice about buying companies in new lines of business.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.