FCC leader promises better Internet as net neutrality rules expire

Latin woman looking disappointed at her laptopscreen sitting behind her desk at the office

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. Supporters of net neutrality have also said that without regulation, a greater socio-economic digital divide could develop, creating a class of information "haves" and "have nots".

"I'm confident that our decision is the one that best vindicates consumers concerns going forward, and protects them in the Internet economy that we have, and promotes a stronger economy for them going forward", he said. The more realistic goal of the act is to put pressure on Republicans ahead of the 2020 elections - only changes in leadership are likely to have an effect on U.S.net neutrality rules.

The original rules laid out a regulatory plan that addressed a rapidly changing internet. But now there are fewer rules governing how internet service providers can operate. They don't want their broadband providers blocking websites or censoring content, and this agency gave broadband providers the legal right to do so.

Those might sound the same, but in practice they're very, very different.

What's Everyone so Worried About?

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Content providers like Netflix are in direct competition with Comcast, which owns NBC Universal and controls access to the internet for over 20 million customers. In reality, the FTC will only be able to enforce a company's own terms and conditions, which won't do anything to stop the spread of paid fast lanes, zero-rating, or anti-competitive behavior across the industry.

Some small-business owners are anxious, too, that industry giants could pay to get an edge and leave them on an unfair playing field. This means that if a consumer doesn't like the service their local ISP offers, they have no other company to choose instead.

The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules took effect today. "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". Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules. Even at the federal level, there is an effort to restore the rules the FCC had in place.

The new order permits ISPs to throttle, block, or be paid to prioritize certain sites or content, as long as they disclose that they are doing so.

Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature. Dozens of other states are considering similar measures. It's hard to say what specific changes you might experience; part of the whole point of undoing the net neutrality rules is that Internet providers will begin to experiment with all-new business models we haven't seen before. The end of the rules comes as House Democrats are pressing for a resolution to reinstate them.

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