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Net Neutrality Is Finally, Actually Dead
12 June 2018, 05:42 | Myron Mathis
Though major internet service providers say the web will remain essentially unchanged after net neutrality rules are rolled back.
That means internet providers can speed up, slow down or block websites without violating federal regulations.
The rule passed under President Obama, but the Trump administration scrapped it in December.
The controversial repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections is officially set to take effect on Monday, despite ongoing efforts from members of Congress, state officials, tech companies and advocacy groups to save the rules. "Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate", Pai said in a November 2017 proposal. For example, users who oppose the repeal of net neutrality fear that internet providers will start bundling services like Facebook and Instagram together, in the same way cable companies bundle certain channels together for a price. The more realistic goal of the act is to put pressure on Republicans ahead of the 2020 elections - only changes in leadership are likely to have an effect on U.S.net neutrality rules.
Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally.
In a press release Monday, the FCC said the repeal does away with "unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations" and replaces them with "common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment". There were some exceptions (emergency services, mostly), but for the most part, the rules made it illegal for ISPs to slow down (throttle) internet traffic based on content, so long as the data was legal.
"The internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone's permission", Pai said. After all, the rules on net neutrality have changed multiple times already - six times in the last 10 years, in fact.
"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission. The end of the rules comes as House Democrats are pressing for a resolution to reinstate them. Several states, including New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and California, have gone so far as to push legislation to enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.
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