Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

How will the end of net neutrality affect you?

How will the end of net neutrality affect you?

The recent FCC's staunch opposition to net neutrality has been met with waves of public backlash, at one point amounting to almost 22 million comments being submitted to the its website, as well as criticism from policy experts who say a repeal of the rules will let internet service providers give preferential treatment to some websites, including their own.

The federal government starts rolling back net neutrality rules today.

The end of "net neutrality" is going to majorly affect the way internet-service providers do business, but how noticeable will the changes be for you, the customer?

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted in favor of repealing net neutrality, said on CBS This Morning the "Restoring Internet Freedom" rule will be "tremendously positive" for consumers. And they fear that behemoths like AT&T might someday prioritize their own TV shows and other content over rivals'.

ISPs can charge access fees (known as "paid prioritization") to content providers like Google, Facebook, and Netflix in order to send content to consumers. It corresponds closely to the previous federal rule, barring ISPs from blocking or throttling the bandwidth on any legal content, service, app, or device, subject to reasonable network management.

Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections. "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it". If you're a fan of Netflix, for example, net neutrality holds that you should be able to watch its shows without running into impediments your ISP puts up that are created to push you toward a competing service, such as Hulu. And states like NY have signed executive orders to keep net neutrality in place.

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A bipartisan group of senators praised the amendment, saying it protects the U.S.'s national security. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another chief backer of the amendment.

The Republican-majority FCC voted along party lines in December to repeal the regulations, which expired today.

Ajit Pai, in an op-ed piece published today, championed the end of Net Neutrality regulations.

However, companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until people aren't paying a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie.

Net neutrality was repealed previous year under an order called the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order. Numerous commenters urged the FCC to preserve the government's net neutrality protections, which had treated ISPs similar to utilities. Others point out that the FTC, which oversees consumer protection for every corner of the US economy, already has its hands full.

"It is a period of profound change", said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of Pai's chief critics, "and we are also watching a lot of the big get even bigger". The bill's prime sponsor Drew Hansen, D-Kitsap, said the bill keeps all Obama era net neutrality laws in place.

Net Neutrality, a term coined by Columbia University media law professor and former NY state lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, is a rule where all telecommunication companies must treat all data equality and may not discriminate or charge differently. He has argued that the regulations are too restrictive on businesses and discourage them from investing in network upgrades that could make your Internet service faster and better.

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