Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Net Neutrality Rules Roll Back

Net Neutrality Rules Roll Back

"At the dawn of the commercial Internet, President [Bill] Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed on a light-touch framework to regulating the Internet".

Current FCC chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the effort to return the internet to the way it was before the rules took effect, and despite the overwhelming support for keeping the rules intact, the FCC voted 3-2 to reverse course. Want access to Facebook and Twitter?

I support a free and open internet.

The net neutrality rules were approved in 2015.

Many consumer advocates argued that once the rules were scrapped, broadband providers would begin selling the internet in bundles, not unlike cable television packages.

Pai calls the FTC the "nation's premier consumer protection agency". "This was a loss for consumers and a mistake we have reversed", Pai wrote. The rules also banned paid prioritization, preventing any internet fast lane for those who paid a premium.

According to the op-ed, Pai thinks that transferring power over the internet to ISPs will "protect consumers".

However, companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until people aren't paying a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie.

That may sound annoying for Netflix users, but it's easy to imagine farther-reaching consequences given the ubiquity of the internet, which now functions more like electricity than an information service. Consumer groups have charged that when zero-rating plans are used to promote services owned by the broadband providers, or by companies that pay the providers to market them, they are akin to fast lanes. But those rules don't cover every provider in those states, just those that do business with those states' governments.

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.

"There is widespread agreement among senators from both parties that we need to maintain a free and open internet", Thune said.

The impact was especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught. In January, attorneys general in 22 states and the District of Columbia filed a protective petition for review of the order. "We still don't and won't block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content".

"I don't like the idea that someone like Amazon could pay more money and have more access to my customers", Black said, "I think that I wouldn't get as much business and you know that translates into jobs and sales".

Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. OR passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports.

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