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Net Neutrality Has Been Rolled Back - But It's Not Dead Yet

13 June 2018
Net Neutrality Has Been Rolled Back - But It's Not Dead Yet

"Monday, we are ending this flawed approach and allowing smaller internet service providers to focus their efforts on deploying more broadband, connecting more Americans with digital opportunity, and offering more competition in the marketplace", Pai wrote in a column for CNET published Sunday. The rollback took effect officially on Monday.

Black says he's nervous the repeal of net neutrality could curb the flow of internet traffic to his website and hurt business. That means there is nothing legally stopping a broadband provider from selling faster service at a premium or slowing some content. But other tech companies and many content providers support a neutral internet. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair. Before the FCC passed the net neutrality rules in 2015, there were already reports that Verizon and Comcast were slowing down Netflix, YouTube, and other services. "At the FCC, we have a transparency rule, where every company in the United States has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company that engages in any anti-competitive conduct".

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

Pai argues that net neutrality was part of the FCC's regulatory overreach during the Obama administration. For example, net neutrality ensured that an ordinary citizen's blog about local politics would not be slowed down or delayed from users in favor of paid advertisements or companies that pay a prioritization fee. Under net neutrality, internet service providers were classified as utilities instead of information services, and subjected to broad federal regulation.

"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", said Gigi Sohn, a former counselor for the FCC. Some states, like New Jersey, Washington, and California, have been actively working on state laws that would keep net neutrality alive within their jurisdictions. But they aren't prevented from doing so.

As for Congress, the Senate issued a vote to overturn the decision in May and the House of Representatives now has the opportunity to do the same.

Those things include blocking sites they don't like, throttling the speeds of legal internet traffic, and creating "fast lanes" for higher-paying customers like big corporations.

Zero-rating programs weren't specifically barred under the now-defunct net neutrality protections.

So net neutrality's path through Congress is an uphill battle, but some are still optimistic that net neutrality will win out in the end.

In May, a bill was approved in the Senate to save net neutrality rules.