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Net neutrality officially repealed

13 June 2018

Net neutrality rules created to ensure equal Internet access formally are set to expire on Monday after a lengthy battle. In a statement at the time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai framed the upcoming repeal as removing burdensome regulations.

Passed by the Republican-led FCC in December, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order ends the agency's prohibitions against internet service providers blocking, slowing down, or providing preferential treatment to particular internet sites and services.

"It's business as usual on the internet today - movies are streaming, e-commerce is thriving, and advocates are using the internet to make their voices heard", said Jonathan Spalter, president of broadband trade group USTelecom with members including AT&T and Verizon. Most major internet providers have publicly pledged not to cherry-pick consumer content, though activists say without enforcement those are largely empty promises.

"Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Paid said.

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"This was a loss for consumers and a mistake we have reversed".

Today marks the first day of a post-net neutrality world, one in which rules introduced during the Obama administration under previous FCC chairman Tom Wheeler are officially repealed. "Our transparency rule will also help ensure that any problematic conduct by Internet service providers is quickly identified and corrected". And consumers latch on to this notion of "free unlimited", and if you look at the fine print, the carriers give with one hand and they take with the other. Nor could they charge Netflix and other video services extra to reach viewers more smoothly.

Those might sound the same, but in practice they're very, very different. "They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road".

OR also enacted a net neutrality law, signed in April and that goes into action in 2019, but it only restricts state agencies and other public bodies from contracting with network providers that don't meet non-discriminatory provisions. The industry is moving towards faster internet speeds like never before, while the internet remains open, without any of the kinds of paid priority, zero-rating or service bundling that plagues the cable industry. Network investment topped $1.5 trillion.

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A group of 22 states have sued the FCC over the repeal.

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.

"At the FCC, we have a transparency rule where every company in the USA has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company who engages in any anti-competitive conducts", Pai said.

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Net neutrality officially repealed