Net neutrality rules officially repealed in US

Mark Zuckerberg chief executive officer of Facebook holds a press conference at their headquarters

Mark Zuckerberg chief executive officer of Facebook holds a press conference at their headquarters

The Senate voted 52-47 last month to overturn the FCC's plan, but the House, which is doesn't intend to take up the issue-making the Senate's move largely symbolic. Led by current Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted 3-2 in December to repeal the Obama-era open internet rules.

"Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content", Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission who voted against the repeal, said in an emailed statement Monday.

Why was net neutrality repealed?

A fierce debate has surrounded the concept of net neutrality.

"The United States has a specialized telecom agency with the expertise and technical capability to protect net neutrality and ensure an open internet", FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny had said.

Since Pai's passage of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, supporters of net neutrality have taken several approaches to prevent the new rules from going into effect. The California Senate announced at the end of last month that it is working to enforce stricter net neutrality laws than what federal regulations require. Several states including NY and Washington, have passed regulations that impose net neutrality on a local level.

How could the net neutrality repeal affect you?

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There's also no mention in Pai's op-ed about how the two largest ISPs in the nation - Comcast and Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner Cable) - score incredibly low in both customer service and value from Consumer Reports. The repeal effectively allows ISPs to block, throttle and prioritize content and internet access as they please.

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

An edge provider, for those wondering, is an individual or entity that provides content, applications or services over the internet, or devices for accessing any of those things over the internet, available to end-users, i.e., the consumers. You can imagine a scenario where NBC would want to speed up streams of its shows and slow down streams of its rivals, Nexflix.

Not everyone is anxious about net neutrality being repealed, of course.

Broadband providers say consumers needn't worry. But, "it's much easier to reduce this issue to a Twitter slogan than it is to really get behind the detail and figure out what reasonable network management practices are", he said. If you're interested in letting your representatives know where you stand on net neutrality and how you'd like them to vote, you can see a tally of who has and hasn't agreed to support net neutrality here. "They now have nearly free reign over what content their subscribers will have access to", he wrote. 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. For example, an ISP could charge a base fee for basic internet, and $5 extra for a social media package that includes Facebook and Twitter, or a $10 entertainment package that bundles in streaming music as well. Internet access is a basic social right, which must be freely available to all without the interference of corporations or the state. Net neutrality is dead.

He wrote that the biggest US 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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