Net Neutrality Is Alive and Well in Washington State

FCC's Repeal Of Net Neutrality Starts Today

Net neutrality is central to our freedoms and civil liberties. The effort to block the repeal of rules protecting net neutrality is key to equal access, U of R professor says.

Supporters of net neutrality argue the regulations blocked internet providers from slowing down content from rival sites or services, and kept them from charging more for bandwidth-heavy streaming services like Netflix (NFLX).

Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content.

In December 2017, the FCC voted to repeal those "open internet" rules, reclassifying the internet as an information service, which is subject to less regulation. Today, those net neutrality rules were officially rolled back. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue. "Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition".

But net neutrality remains alive and well in Washington, thanks to a bi-partisan bill that was signed into law earlier this year. "Americans in every state and across the political spectrum support rules that ban ISPs from blocking, throttling, and prioritising web traffic".

"It's patently illegal for the states to make their own internet policy", said Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who served on President Trump's transition team for the FCC.

A new state law requires Internet service providers (ISPs), like Comcast and CenturyLink, to treat the delivery of all data equally no matter which company originates it.

A collection of advocacy groups has called for "mass online actions" on June 11 to once again call attention to the issue and pressure Congress to act. 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.

In an editorial over at CNET, Pai offers up the equivalent of a "greatest hits" of all of his misleading statements so far, including claims that killing the popular consumer protections will somehow result in more transparency, faster broadband speeds, better broadband deployment, and lower prices.

"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. "Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet a lot like cable TV". Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules. ISPs may also sue the state, although no lawsuits have yet been reported. Before the FCC passed the net neutrality rules in 2015, there were already reports that Verizon and Comcast were slowing down Netflix, YouTube, and other services.

In 2015, the FCC stripped the FTC - the nation's premier consumer protection agency - of its authority over internet service providers.

Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. OR passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports.

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