FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

Net neutrality gave the FCC authority over internet providers, which now is being handed back to the Federal Trade Commission, Pai wrote in an article for CNET.

The issue of net neutrality has sparked intense debate in the US since last April when FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, announced that under his leadership the FCC would repeal landmark net neutrality rules created under President Obama in 2015.

"Net neutrality ensures equal access to online content regardless of who is providing or requesting information", Florian Schaub, an assistant professor at the University of MI who specializes in internet privacy, wrote in a paper recently published in the academic journal Media and Communication. Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC, said on Twitter: "Americans are passionate about the free and open internet". Net neutrality explained: "imagine internet is pizza."

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.

"We've empowered the FTC to take action against any company that might act in any competitive way", Pai said. He believes the repeal of net neutrality is bad news for most consumers, "Internet service providers, at their whim, can do pretty much whatever they want to you".

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Though the FCC voted to kill net neutrality last December, the formal repeal didn't take effect until today. They can also set up "fast lanes" for preferred services - in turn, relegating everyone else to "slow lanes". He said the "Restoring Internet Freedom Order" will only improve the internet for users.

In essence, the rules attempted to ensure a level playing field so that ISPs wouldn't favor their own services (in particular streaming video) over those by third parties by throttling and charging extra for certain traffic.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some U.S. states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws. But those rules don't cover every provider in those states, just those that do business with those states' governments.

The bottom line is that our regulatory framework will both protect the free and open internet and deliver more digital opportunity to more Americans. He spoke with Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood about what internet providers wanted to do that they couldn't under the old rules. So it's not far-fetched to think a company like Comcast could throttle Netflix (or other innovative content providers) and make it impossible to watch a movie or other content without constant buffering. Although the direct effects of the repeal are unknown, companies will have to assess how much change consumers will tolerate, according to the Associated Press.

Two states, OR and Washington, have passed net neutrality laws and 29 states are considering legislation, which could lead to new legal battles over Internet laws.

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