FCC's net neutrality rules are officially repealed.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

Would you rather have net neutrality or an open internet?

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines in December to repeal the rules, which were meant to prevent internet providers from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services.

A number of states have tried to get around the FCC's repeal by either developing legislation laying out their own net neutrality rules, or by issuing gubernatorial executive orders that limit which Internet providers can do business with the state. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue.

Taking away the bright-line rules means internet providers like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast can start charging for "fast lanes" and throttle speeds for certain edge providers like Netflix or Hulu if they don't pay more. The rules that were repealed banned ISPs from blocking websites or apps; ISPs were also banned from throttling or slowing down data due to the nature of content if that content was legal.

Lyons said he thinks the likelihood of actual harm from net neutrality is relatively remote, and that laws that already exist to regulate corporations, like anti-trust regulations, will prevent ISPs from behaving badly.

"Under the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform". Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC, said on Twitter: "Americans are passionate about the free and open internet". In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations. Basically everyone from consumer advocates to human rights groups and even tech companies supported net neutrality, but, of course, that didn't stop the FCC from overturning it. "Congress will be monitoring the new rules to see if adjustments in the law are needed". Our approach includes strong consumer protections. 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.

The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them. Consumer groups have charged that when zero-rating plans are used to promote services owned by the broadband providers, or by companies that pay the providers to market them, they are akin to fast lanes. Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules. 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.

However, according to the FCC, states don't have the power to make their own policies. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

Yet, some fear it's also possible internet providers will one day effectively charge customers more to access services like Netflix that are now included as part of your monthly bill.

Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.



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