Obama-era net neutrality has ended: What does it mean for you?

Sheri Evans
June 13, 2018

The FCC's abandonment of net neutrality laws, voted on a year ago, finally takes effect today.

The repeal of "net neutrality" takes effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo the rules, which had barred broadband and cellphone companies from slowing down or blocking sites of their choosing or charging more for higher speeds.

Ultimately, the FCC said these lawsuits and executive orders will not stop the repeal of the rules.

The industry has largely promised not to block or throttle websites in the absence of the rules, and the repeal order is still facing a legal challenge from a coalition of net neutrality supporters. In his view, removing the rule will open the floodgates to corporate investment, ultimately providing faster and more widespread internet access. It also meant that companies could not give preferential treatment to their own content; for example, Comcast, which owns NBC, could not treat the content from NBC more favourably than that of a competitor.

"Americans across the country are raising their voices against the Trump assault on the free Internet, yet House Republicans inexplicably refuse to listen to the will of the people and save net neutrality", she continued.

The chairman hasn't talked about any of those incidents where the ISPs discriminated against content by blocking websites or apps that could be their competitors or how their decision to offer paid and fast lanes to big companies could kill the innovation that is being heralded as the victor of this repeal. The rule stipulates that every ISP must clearly disclose their practices to consumers and that the Federal Trade Commission will regulate any ISP that imposes unfair or deceptive practices.

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Q. What were the net neutrality rules?

"The internet's death will be slow", Greer said.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some U.S. states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws. For most of the country, unfettered access to the internet now depends on the goodwill of their service providers. But not in Washington state!

In essence, the rules attempted to ensure a level playing field so that ISPs wouldn't favor their own services (in particular streaming video) over those by third parties by throttling and charging extra for certain traffic.

In May, the Senate voted to overturn the FCC's repeal of the Obama-era regulations.

So net neutrality's path through Congress is an uphill battle, but some are still optimistic that net neutrality will win out in the end. In California, SB 822 is scheduled for Assembly committee hearings this month after the state senate approved it at the end of May. In fact, some have made clear they want to have the freedom to prioritize certain kinds of traffic over others.

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