FCC Has Repealed Net Neutrality Rules, But Congress Can Reverse The Decision

The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer. But not in Washington state

The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer. But not in Washington state

And in May, the Senate voted in favor of reversing the FCC's repeal; however, the measure still needs to be passed in the House of Representatives, where afterwards it will then need President Trump's signature.

Pai's primary defense of the FCC's new lax rules on ISPs is the "transparency rule", which requires ISPs to notify consumers of any policies that violate previous Net Neutrality guidelines. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai continues to suggest that Obama-era rules were "heavy-handed" and they negatively impacted innovation. Pai doesn't explain what will happen if they don't follow through, other than saying that the "problematic conduct" will be "corrected".

The flip side is there are many areas where broadband availability is limited to one or two options, giving consumers little or no choice in the matter.

"That is not the open internet we know today and rely on to consume and create".

Many also feared that without the net neutrality rules in place, the ISPs could start offering its customers "service packages", which would splinter the internet.

Meanwhile, even before the end of the net-neutrality rules, several broadband providers, including AT&T and Verizon, were experimenting with so-called zero-rating programs.

Twenty-nine states have since introduced legislation, proposing reinstating some aspects of Net Neutrality. Its chairman has long argued against the rules, pointing out that before they were put into effect in 2015, service providers had not engaged in any of the practices the rules prohibited.

During a speech at Mobile World Congress this year, Pai addressed attendees and gave a concise explanation of why he was against net neutrality. Network investment topped $1.5 trillion. "We still don't and won't block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content". The end of the rules comes as House Democrats are pressing for a resolution to reinstate them. Additionally, 22 states' and Washington DC's attorneys general have filed a lawsuit alongside almost a dozen other groups, challenging the FCC decision. Ed Markey of MA wrote on Twitter.

Still, others cheered the rollback.

"I am committed to protecting a free and open internet, while at the same time making sure there are reasonable standards to protect against unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive practices such as blocking and throttling".

"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", Pai wrote in an op-ed column Monday.

Perhaps the repeal won't change the direction of the internet.

In the meantime, some ISPs have promised in the absence of the federal net neutrality rules to not slow data or block it, and with state laws in flux and a federal showdown possible, it's unlikely any would push the envelope at present.

He wrote that the biggest USA 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.

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