Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Net Neutrality Is Officially Gone. Here's How This Will Affect You

Net Neutrality Is Officially Gone. Here's How This Will Affect You

The Internet & Television Association said over the summer that it supported net neutrality but did not believe that the Obama-era regulations promote it.

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 rules initally passed under President Obama, but the FCC under the Trump Administration discarded the rule in December. That tactic, which experts call "paid prioritization", runs the risk of creating an uneven playing field where big, dominant Internet companies can afford the fast lanes while start-ups or small businesses get left behind, net neutrality activists say. If you're interested in letting your representatives know where you stand on net neutrality and how you'd like them to vote, you can see a tally of who has and hasn't agreed to support net neutrality here. Companies couldn't pay service providers like Verizon or AT&T extra to make their site or app load faster for internet users, and ISPs couldn't block or throttle content and data, as long as it was legal.

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Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the retraction of net neutrality rules was needed to remove needless and onerous regulations.

"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", Sohn says. For example, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices.

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More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal.

This isn't something that ISPs did before net neutrality rules took effect, and proponents of the repeal argue that the open market will work itself without the rules in place. "We're going to make them". In other words, net neutrality is dead, folks. "Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Pai writes, saying that the FTC - an organization with minimal regulatory powers and no specialist knowledge of the complicated telecoms industry - is the fearless regulator we all deserve. The idea was to keep the internet open and uncensored.

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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. Others, including the governors of Montana and NY, used executive orders to force net neutrality. However, the bill has yet to be voted on in the House. Last week, Senate Democrats urged House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to bring the issue to a vote on the House floor. If you need a brush up on what net neutrality was and what it meant for you, check out our story on that here. State officials, members of Congress, technology companies and various advocacy groups are still pushing to save the rules through legislation and litigation.

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