Net Neutrality is no more

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

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

Even though net neutrality has widespread bipartisan support, ISPs have long wanted the net neutrality repeal. Many ISPs say they are waiting to see what happens with the proposed Net Neutrality rules.

Here's what it means and what's really at stake.

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

The recent FCC's staunch opposition to net neutrality has been met with waves of public backlash. 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.

When fighting against the 2015 net neutrality rules, the ISPs said nearly in unison that they would prefer to leave net neutrality rules to Congress instead of the FCC.

Net neutrality is the basic principle that all internet traffic should be be treated equally. Any change to how it's regulated is a hot button issue. "So issues that are coming up right now, people are seeing from a very personal perspective".

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The impact was especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught. If customers hit their maximum data allowance, providers could either slow down the speed of your service or charge fees for increased usage. But they aren't prevented from doing so. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

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.

Supporters of net neutrality are concerned that without it, we could lose access to a free and open internet.

Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said the digital rights group plans a "summer offensive with mass online actions" and "a river of angry constituent phone calls". But now there are fewer rules governing how internet service providers can operate.

And how will repealing net neutrality affect me?

"The United States has a specialized telecom agency with the expertise and technical capability to protect net neutrality and ensure an open internet", FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny had said. The rules also restricted ISPs from charging extra for certain traffic, creating so-called fast lanes for companies and consumers.

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The repeal could also change how customers are billed for services, both for good and bad.

So what's the deal with the net neutrality repeal?

Initially, this might be viewed as a positive by consumers looking to save money on their streaming media. "Our goal is simple: better, faster, cheaper internet access for American consumers who are in control of their own online experience". 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).

"Following the decision to repeal net neutrality, many Americans anxious that the internet would turn into what cable-tv is: a set of options based on price and preference".

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, governors in six states - New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii - have signed executive orders upholding net neutrality, and three - Washington, Vermont and OR - have enacted legislation that does so.

This local legislation could lead to a legal showdown, however.

Two states, OR and Washington, have passed net neutrality laws and 29 states are considering legislation, which could lead to new legal battles over Internet laws.

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