A new set of rules at the Federal Communications Commission went into effect Monday, ending consumer protections that assure equal legal broadband access that doesn't slow or block certain sources. But what's more likely to occur are subtle changes to your Internet experience that you may or may not notice.
Advocates of net neutrality fear without the rules in place, internet providers will have too much control over web content.
After much delay and plenty of drama, the new FCC rules voted on in that contentious meeting have gone into full effect.
In a press release Monday, the FCC said the repeal does away with "unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations" and replaces them with "common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment". Getting the House to vote on the matter requires a special discharge petition to be signed since House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) does not support the motion.
As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills meant to ensure net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Any Republican seeking re-election in the fall can't run from this polling data or from the people back home who demand real net neutrality. The longer-term ramifications of a world without net neutrality is what concerns proponents of a fair and open internet - issues like a threat to free flow of information and a hazard to speech rights. As part of this effort, more than 16.5 million pro-net neutrality emails have been sent to Congress.
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He added that the Federal Trade Commission will work to protect consumers. In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations. But far more realistically, we're probably going to see some gradual shifts in our service over time, especially since Comcast backed down on its good-faith promise the day the repeal passed and has previously limited access to peer-to-peer applications.
A statement by the pro net-neutrality group Fight for the Future declared: "June 11th will serve as the kick-off for intense campaigning focused on House lawmakers, who will be under tremendous pressure to support the [net neturality measure] ahead of the midterm elections, given that voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support restoring these rules". And consumer groups note that should the FCC repeal survive the looming lawsuits, the end result won't be pretty for American consumers.
Net neutrality was repealed a year ago under an order called the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order.
"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission.
The FCC changes were passed last December, shepherded by Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who says the new lighter-touch rules are more market-friendly than the "utility-style regulation" in the Obama-era.