Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

FCC's net neutrality rules are officially repealed. Here's what that really means

BackyardProduction  Getty Images BackyardProduction Getty Images
Pete Mitchell | 15 June, 2018, 10:24

Net neutrality rules established under the Obama era were officially repealed today following a vote last month by the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The opponents argued that the repeal would open the door for service providers to censor content online or charge additional fees for better service - something that could hurt small companies - and several states have taken steps to impose the rules on a local level.

Net neutrality was created to prevent internet providers from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services.

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

Media captionWhat is net neutrality and how could it affect you? This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. "The consumer is going to be protected and we preserve the incentive for companies to build out better, faster, and cheaper internet access". Those protections are transparency rules that require ISPs to publicly disclose any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.

"The people really want a free and open internet", Hansen said.

Lori Miller, with activist group Indivisible Rapid City, believes dumping Net Neutrality was a mistake. But what's more likely to occur are subtle changes to your Internet experience that you may or may not notice.

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As for Congress, the Senate issued a vote to overturn the decision in May and the House of Representatives now has the opportunity to do the same. The agency's executive, Chairman Ajit Pai, was in favor of the policy's repeal due to his own beliefs that such regulations would stifle or hold back innovation in telecommunication companies. "For example, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices". Earlier this decade, many consumers found their access to Netflix slowed amid a dispute between the streaming video provider and broadband companies over who would pay to upgrade the connections between their networks.

No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

The internet service market is cornered by just four corporations (Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon).

The FCC is also facing a number of lawsuits from consumer rights groups as well as state attorneys.

Today marks an official turning point in internet policy in the United States.

The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer. If the only providers that can serve state governments are those that observe net neutrality, these states reason, then it could shape what services consumers are offered, too. Those programs allow consumers to access certain sites and services without the data to and from them applying to any monthly caps they may have. Several states including NY and Washington, have passed regulations that impose net neutrality on a local level.

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