Net neutrality is - or was - the rule that ensured telecommunications companies would treat all internet traffic equally, could not speed up or slow down certain websites and could not charge more for using certain services.
The Federal Communications Commission has officially lifted Obama-era internet protections known as net neutrality, leading to a potential change in how fast apps, websites and online services load depending on internet service providers (ISP.) The change comes six months after the FCC voted to undo the rules. That order has now gone into effect, which means the net neutrality rules have been canceled.
Enacted in 2015, the rules sought to stop providers giving preferential treatment to sites and services that paid them to accelerate their data. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy.
But consumer advocates say that the repeal is just pandering to big business and that cable and phone giants will now be free to block access to services they don't like. Even some technology companies joined the fight to preserve net neutrality, including Mozilla and Vimeo.
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. 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. 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.
Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, governors in six states - New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii - have signed executive orders upholding net neutrality, and three - Washington, Vermont and OR - have enacted legislation that does so.
Today marks the official end to the FCC Net Neutrality rules. We're also waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will agree to hear a separate lawsuit on net neutrality.
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. The Senate last month passed a Congressional Review Act measure 52-47 aiming to overturn the 2017 measure (the CRA is a quick way to overturn newly-passed regulations within 60 legislative days of passage).
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released some strong statements Monday, the day net neutrality regulations are being rolled back by the Trump administration. In his view, removing the rule will open the floodgates to corporate investment, ultimately providing faster and more widespread internet access.