August 15, 2018

Net Neutrality Rules Have Officially Been Repealed by the FCC

14 June 2018, 03:38 | Megan Pierce

It's finally happened: Net neutrality rules that sparked intense debate are now history

Net Neutrality Ends Today, But The Fight To Protect Internet Speeds Rages On

The rules oblige Internet service providers, or ISPs, to enable access of all content and applications, regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era rules in December in what was seen as a major victory for Republicans who had pledged to scrap the rules. The ISPs are essentially breaking that contract with the users when they start picking and choosing which services to deliver at normal speed. The repeal will also let ISPs charge websites or online services for priority access to consumers.

Without net neutrality, it technically becomes legal, for example, for an internet provider like Comcast to give preferential treatment to a video service like Hulu, which it owns, while slowing down other services like Netflix - and that would obviously be undesirable for Comcast subscribers who use Netflix. FCC chairman Ajit Pai joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why he thinks the rollback is "tremendously positive" for consumers.

Supporters of net neutrality are pushing state lawmakers to fight the repeal, but Mayer says this cannot be done at the state level.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've heard about the impending death of net neutrality. 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. If it's clear their constituents are against the net neutrality repeal - and that it's a key issue they'll vote on - enough Republicans may be swayed.

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The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support.

Net neutrality repeal - is it the end of the world?

This, according to Pai, "will allow consumers to make an informed decision about which Internet service provider is best for them". The Senate last month passed a Congressional Review Act measure 52-47 aiming to overturn the 2017 measure (the CRA is a quick way to overturn newly-passed regulations within 60 legislative days of passage).

Whether you're trying to buy a necklace on Etsy, stream a series on Netflix, or upload a photo to Facebook, your internet service provider has to load all of those websites equally quickly. Its chairman has long argued against the rules, pointing out that before they were put into effect in 2015, service providers had not engaged in any of the practices the rules prohibited. Our approach includes strong consumer protections. Some say that consumers may not notice any changes at all. One of the FTC commissioners had even said that the FCC is setting up FTC to fail. Now control over regulating the internet moves from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commision FTC.

In the meantime, some ISPs have promised in the absence of the federal net neutrality rules to not slow data or block it, and with state laws in flux and a federal showdown possible, it's unlikely any would push the envelope at present.

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