Why the end of net neutrality might look good ... at first

Source Flickr Commons

Source Flickr Commons

"Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content", Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission who voted against the repeal, said in an emailed statement to the New York Times. After an intense marketing and lobbying campaign, internet companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast convinced the FCC to allow them to slow or restrict access to certain websites. And they fear that behemoths like AT&T might someday prioritize their own TV shows and other content over rivals'.

And he rejected arguments that the move would lead to ISPs restricting access to online content, by blocking sites or charging a premium for faster delivery. 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. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he wants to return to a "light-touch" regulatory framework for the internet and is kicking authority to police broadband companies over to the FTC.

Nor could they charge Netflix and other video services extra to reach viewers more smoothly. Meanwhile, at least 29 states have pending legislation that would require ISPs to uphold net neutrality rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 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.

Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.

The official repeal of net neutrality is now in effect.

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In 2015, the FCC voted to repeal regulations giving internet users equal access.

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"The big ISPs know that they're being watched - by Congress, by the courts and by their customers", she said.

Last month, the Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules.

However, in the op-ed Pai does not defend against any of the common arguments for Net Neutrality.

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Pai calls the FTC the "nation's premier consumer protection agency". And I think the internet service providers can do that, particularly in rural areas where you have only one carrier.

The earlier administration - under President Barack Obama - had asked internet providers to face strict regulations, arguing consumers needed protection from internet provider practices and said internet providers could engage in reasonable conduct.

Those might sound the same, but in practice they're very, very different.

"We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag", former FCC Chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed.

In the meantime, some ISPs have promised in the absence of the federal net neutrality rules to not slow data or block it, and with state laws in flux and a federal showdown possible, it's unlikely any would push the envelope at present.

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