Net Neutrality Rollback Official


"Most of us believe in a free, open, and available Internet and agree that it should remain that way".

The way we access the internet is about to change. Here's what you need to know.

But wait. What exactly is net neutrality? Under its principles, Internet providers shouldn't interfere with your ability to reach the websites, apps or services of your choice.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've heard about the impending death of net neutrality. Without rules prohibiting paid prioritization, a fast lane could be occupied by big internet and media companies, as well as affluent households, while everyone else would be left in the slow lane. The FCC action that goes into effect today returns the rules governing the Internet to the way they were before 2015, when the Internet grew and thrived. But late in the Obama administration, the FCC opened up an inquiry to see if they violated the general conduct provisions.

Q. Why are the rules going away? Among the Republican commissioners who voted in favor of the repeal was Pai, Michael O'Reilly, and Brendan Carr.

Q. What's the impact of the repeal? Net neutrality is dead. Under the old policy, any blocking or slowing of websites would directly run afoul of the rules, inviting immediate enforcement. Under a new plan, the Federal Trade Commission will police the ISPs.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last week the rollback will ensure more investment by providers and will ensure "better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people".

Q. Is my Internet service about to slow to a crawl, like some activists claim? Telecoms are now free to block, slow, or otherwise discriminate against online content and services.

For now, no. But that could change in the future.

A fierce debate has surrounded the concept of net neutrality. But what's more likely to occur are subtle changes to your Internet experience that you may or may not notice.

"Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content", Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission who voted against the repeal, said in an emailed statement to the New York Times.

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Q. Yes, finally! What's an example?

"The idea that your ISP, because it controls the on-ramp to the internet, can be in a position to affect the flow of information in society is a concern that resonates with people", Daniel Lyons, a telecommunications lawyer, tells MONEY.

Q. Isn't Congress trying to reverse the repeal?

The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them.

Q. What are its chances in the House? Almost 50 more House lawmakers must sign a discharge petition introduced by Congressman Mike Doyle in order to force a vote.

But a battle for votes in the House remains. Even if it succeeds, President Donald Trump is not expected to sign it.

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press, think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla. A federal appeals court in Washington is expected to hear that case in the coming months.

The fate of net neutrality is likely to last throughout the remainder of the year, if not longer based on the push for legislation.

In Monday's op-ed, he repeated his argument that the internet thrived without net neutrality rules in place for most of its existence. The ISPs are essentially breaking that contract with the users when they start picking and choosing which services to deliver at normal speed.

Twenty-nine states have since introduced legislation, proposing reinstating some aspects of Net Neutrality.