USA net neutrality rules expire, court battle looms

Net Neutrality Ends Tomorrow, FCC On Track To Remove Rules As Scheduled

The recent FCC's staunch opposition to net neutrality has been met with waves of public backlash, at one point amounting to almost 22 million comments being submitted to the its website, as well as criticism from policy experts who say a repeal of the rules will let internet service providers give preferential treatment to some websites, including their own.

Pai says that by deregulating the internet service provider industry, there will now be "strong consumer protections" and that "entrepreneurs [will get] the information they need as they develop new products and services". There's also a resolution by Democrats in Congress - with some Republican support - to undo the FCC's decision and re-implement the Obama-era rules that has passed the Senate but faces long odds in the House of Representatives.

The Federal Communications Commission's rules preventing Internet service providers from blocking or slowing legal traffic, or charging for faster delivery of some content, passed with much fanfare in 2015, are history as of Monday.

"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", Gigi Sohn, a counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and a staunch supporter of net neutrality, told CNNMoney.

Net neutrality is now officially a thing of the past. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Montana, for example, have each signed executive orders requiring broadband providers with state contracts to be net neutral.

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.

"It's business as usual on the internet today - movies are streaming, e-commerce is thriving, and advocates are using the internet to make their voices heard", said Jonathan Spalter, president of broadband trade group USTelecom, which counts AT&T and Verizon as members, in a statement Monday.

"Consumers won't notice the shift at first, but over time the internet will become unrecognizable", she said. However, the bill has yet to be voted on in the House. Now the vote goes the House, which has until the end of the year to bring to a vote. One of the FTC commissioners had even said that the FCC is setting up FTC to fail. "Monopoly phone and cable companies will undoubtedly seek to maximize profits by favoring their own content over their competitors and creating fast lanes and slow lanes ultimately at the expense of consumers". Pai's administration announced its initial review of net neutrality practices over the summer, prompting tech companies like reddit and Netflix to simulate a slower Internet.

Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.



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