Why the end of net neutrality might look good ... at first


"It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC's 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all", they said in a letter Thursday.

But while ISPs think they've scored a major victory here by convincing Ajit Pai and the Trump FCC to ignore the public, ignore the experts, and cuddle up to telecom duopolies, this policy middle finger aimed squarely at consumers is likely to result in a policy and political backlash they're going to be navigating for years. In other words, no speeding up, slowing down or blocking specific websites or online services. Want access to Facebook and Twitter?

Ajit Pai, in an op-ed piece published today, championed the end of Net Neutrality regulations. "Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition", Pai wrote.

"Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Paid said. Nor could we go back in time and undo the harm to consumers or to the competitive evolution of the marketplace.

Pai also says that a different agency - the Federal Trade Commission - will "police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices".

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Net neutrality supporters, including the Silicon Valley group Internet Association, also say that even though the repeal took effect, they intend to continue fighting to restore the Obama-era rules. Earlier this decade, many consumers found their access to Netflix slowed amid a dispute between the streaming video provider and broadband companies over who would pay to upgrade the connections between their networks. But those rules don't cover every provider in those states, just those that do business with those states' governments.

As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills meant to ensure net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dozens of other states are considering similar measures. The industry is moving towards faster internet speeds like never before, while the internet remains open, without any of the kinds of paid priority, zero-rating or service bundling that plagues the cable industry. "We still don't and won't block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content". The companies argued that Title II gave the FCC too much control over their business and that the regulations made it hard to expand their networks.

Although the FCC's repeal takes effect Monday, it's not the end of the road for net neutrality. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what internet providers wanted to do that they couldn't under the old rules.

The FCC is also facing a number of lawsuits from consumer rights groups as well as state attorneys.

"At the FCC, we have a transparency rule where every company in the USA has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company who engages in any anti-competitive conducts", Pai said.