As the FCC's rollback of net neutrality protections officially took effect on Monday, a broad coalition of free press and digital rights campaigners vowed to maintain pressure on members of Congress to either restore the federal rules "or prepare to face our wrath" in the November midterm elections.
As you surf the internet, you might not notice anything different.
Pai also called the new course of action a "tremendous bipartisan success" and noted that the rules were "especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught". "They are not concerned that Internet service providers are going to block access to lawful content". On Sunday, a day before the repeal finally became official, Pai published an editorial on CNET.
"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Thursday. He says the rules were too heavy-handed. Now the vote goes the House, which has until the end of the year to bring to a vote.
There are two main schools of thought as to how the end of net neutrality will affect everyday internet users.
The net neutrality rules are no longer the law of the land. "That idea sits at the foundation of internet services, reflects how consumers enjoy the internet today, and despite claims to the contrary, has never truly been in jeopardy". As part of this effort, more than 16.5 million pro-net neutrality emails have been sent to Congress.
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The Federal Trade Commission will be able to investigate if internet providers engage in anticompetitive behavior. Numerous commenters urged the FCC to preserve the government's net neutrality protections, which had treated ISPs similar to utilities. Many Internet providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, have said they do not and will not block or slow content. Comcast has also said it does not block or slow content and has no plans to offer paid prioritization.
When fighting against the 2015 net neutrality rules, the ISPs said nearly in unison that they would prefer to leave net neutrality rules to Congress instead of the FCC. "That may be true next week, but over time I suspect they will start violating". Pai, a Republican, who voted against the 2015 rules enacted under an Obama-era FCC, was appointed chairman by President Trump in January 2017. As we pointed out at the time of the Senate vote, the CRA now has to pass the House where the Democrats that support the Act are greatly outnumbered.
A group of 22 states have sued the FCC over the repeal.
Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat on the FCC, said in prepared remarks Saturday that the FCC had puts itself "on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public".
For anyone who hasn't been following, net neutrality is the concept of treating all internet traffic the same, no matter where it originates from.