Net neutrality rule ends Monday

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

Net neutrality rule ends Monday

"Their wisest course of action will be to eliminate net neutrality like a slow drip over time in the hope that consumers won't notice and will stop caring".

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".

Even though net neutrality has widespread bipartisan support, ISPs have long wanted the net neutrality repeal.

But Pai, who has visited 26 states and two territories, said he heard a different message from consumers as the government's net neutrality rules expire.

Here's what it means and what's really at stake.

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The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Net Neutrality in December. "They are not concerned that internet service providers are going to block access to lawful content", he said.

He wrote that the biggest US internet companies - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft - controlled much of the online infrastructure, from app stores to operating systems to cloud storage to almost all of the online ad business. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the Internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road. Any change to how it's regulated is a hot button issue. There have been notable incidents during the pre-net neutrality era that involved ISPs blocking specific services like Facetime or P2P Sharing networks unless users paid a premium on their internet plans to unlock the blocked services. Then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called it a victory, saying the rules allowed the commission to act as an Internet "referee". The decision went into effect on Monday. "We look forward to working closely with the FTC to safeguard a free and open Internet", Pai said.

Advocacy groups continue to fight.

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". The measure aims to restore the agency's net neutrality rules as if the repeal had never happened.

Internet providers could choose to prioritize their own content and services over those of rivals. It also meant that companies could not give preferential treatment to their own content; for example, Comcast, which owns NBC, could not treat the content from NBC more favourably than that of a competitor. A third rule banned the practice of paid prioritization, or the offering of the Internet "fast lanes".

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The repeal could also change how customers are billed for services, both for good and bad.

One day after the net neutrality changes, a federal judge is set to rule on Tuesday on whether AT&T can buy Time Warner. Initially, this might be viewed as a positive by consumers looking to save money on their streaming media. "You want access to the whole Internet?"

"The FCC will not have the last word when it comes to net neutrality, the American people will", he said.

This local legislation could lead to a legal showdown, however.

The net neutrality rule is officially ending Monday.

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