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FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

14 June 2018, 12:28 | Cameron Gross

Net neutrality rule ends Monday

Net Neutrality Ends Today, But The Fight To Protect Internet Speeds Rages On

Yesterday marked the end of U.S. government rules regarding net neutrality, but the new policy faces legal challenges from individual states, some of which have also developed their own rules on the matter. Pai, a Republican, who voted against the 2015 rules enacted under an Obama-era FCC, was appointed chairman by President Trump in January 2017.

Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch. 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 issue of net neutrality has sparked intense debate in the US since last April when FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, announced that under his leadership the FCC would repeal landmark net neutrality rules created under President Obama in 2015. That order has now gone into effect, which means the net neutrality rules have been canceled. "For example, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices".

After the commission voted to repeal the rules in December, it faced a public outcry, legal challenges from state attorneys general and public interest groups, and a push by Democratic lawmakers to overturn the decision.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've heard about the impending death of net neutrality. And states like NY have signed executive orders to keep net neutrality in place.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who voted against the repeal, said Monday that the decision put the FCC "on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public". "I would love to have one uniform, robust federal standard protecting net neutrality, but given that the FCC has left a void, the states have to fill it".




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. In California, SB 822 is scheduled for Assembly committee hearings this month after the state senate approved it at the end of May.

Pai argues that net neutrality was part of the FCC's regulatory overreach during the Obama administration. Most major internet providers have publicly pledged not to cherry-pick consumer content, though activists say without enforcement those are largely empty promises.

"Absolutely. I'm for net neutrality", said Wilson.

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.

"Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Pai wrote in his CNET op-ed.

The FCC order that just took effect asserts authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal. It also gives them the freedom to charge people more money for faster access, which would likely make the entire internet slower for everyone else.



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