Net neutrality officially repealed

Net neutrality rules established under the Obama era were officially repealed today following a vote last month by the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

But wait. What exactly is net neutrality? Ed Markey, D-Mass., a longtime network neutrality advocate and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

And while net neutrality is polarizing, it is an example of a regulation that both companies and consumers agree on.

Ajit Pai, whom President Trump named to be his new FCC chairman, and who spearheaded the repeal of the net-neutrality rules, killed that inquiry soon after assuming the chairmanship.

Net neutrality has overwhelming public support, noted industry experts.

The fear is not totally irrational; in Portugal, where there is no net neutrality law, internet providers have already started offering bundles that include various combinations of websites; a music bundle, a social bundle, a messaging bundle, a video bundle etc. Users can still access all the sites without paying for the bundle - but if you do, you risk going over your data quota, and if you do, well, you'll have to cough up extra funds. "Now the House must do the same".

"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", Pai said in a statement last month.

Schumer said that Republicans, except of the three GOP Senators who sided with the Democrats, were choosing large corporations and special interests over American families. While the FCC is removing itself from net neutrality regulation, the Federal Trade Commission can try to punish ISPs that make net neutrality promises and fail to keep them.

Supporters of net neutrality are concerned that without it, we could lose access to a free and open internet. The longer-term ramifications of a world without net neutrality is what concerns proponents of a fair and open internet - issues like a threat to free flow of information and a hazard to speech rights.

Paid prioritization: Service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who paid premiums and a slow lane for those who didn't.

In an editorial over at CNET, Pai offers up the equivalent of a "greatest hits" of all of his misleading statements so far, including claims that killing the popular consumer protections will somehow result in more transparency, faster broadband speeds, better broadband deployment, and lower prices.

"We've empowered the FTC to take action against any company that might act in any competitive way", Pai said. "Starting Monday, 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".

The new rule means more money for broadband companies.

Comcast said "service isn't different today".

"The end of the 2015 net neutrality rules and the legal authority on which they are based will allow companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to take control of consumers' Internet experience and favor or disfavor websites, programming services and applications at will", said Gigi Sohn, a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

"But as grateful as we are for the Commission's action and today's implementation, we can not rest here".

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