Net neutrality officially ends today


Led by current Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted 3-2 in December to repeal the Obama-era open internet rules. Chances are they were saying that to make it more likely that the FCC's rules would be repealed, or so they could support a bill with much weaker regulations and perhaps even some benefits for the ISPs. Moving forward, the FCC no longer has the full authority to police bad behavior by broadband monopolies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, thanks to the Trump FCC's decision to gut classification of ISPs as common carriers. The rules that were repealed banned ISPs from blocking websites or apps; ISPs were also banned from throttling or slowing down data due to the nature of content if that content was legal.

For more from Portney, see the video player above. But in the absence of clear rules governing broadband network management, the FTC would face the burden of proving that any particular ISP action is anti-competitive.

The battle isn't entirely over, though.

Net neutrality has overwhelming public support, noted industry experts. The house bill passed in February by a 93-5 vote.

"That is not the open internet we know today and rely on to consume and create". The FCC also eliminated a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content. But companies are likely to start testing the boundaries over the next six months to a year.

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For anyone who hasn't been following, net neutrality is the concept of treating all internet traffic the same, no matter where it originates from.

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.

"ISPs could curate what online content and services most people will have access to, and which ones will only be available to those who are willing to and can afford to pay extra", Schaub added.

Tech companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar concerns in regulatory filings. "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it". This is how the term "net neutrality" was coined - the idea was that every bit is the same and that ISPs can't charge differentiated prices based on different types of services.

"The FTC will once again be able to protect Americans consistently across the internet economy, and the FCC will work hand-in-hand with our partners at the FTC to do just that", Pai wrote in an op-ed column Monday. 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.