Tech

FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Officially Repeals Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

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.

Net neutrality, a long-held principle of the internet that was established as an official rule during the Obama administration, requires internet service providers to treat all content equally, so they aren't allowed to slow down, say, this website just because we might write that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai looks like he gargles Mitch McConnell's balls. The repeal will also let ISPs charge websites or online services for priority access to consumers.

"Net neutrality ensures equal access to online content regardless of who is providing or requesting information", Florian Schaub, an assistant professor at the University of MI who specializes in internet privacy, wrote in a paper recently published in the academic journal Media and Communication. That means there is nothing legally stopping a broadband provider from selling faster service at a premium or slowing some content.

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press and the think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla. Or they could block websites or apps that offer competing services to their own.

Supporters of the repeal say that it will remove problematic regulations.

Obama-era regulations known as net neutrality officially end Monday.

More news: Robert De Niro bleeped at Tony Awards for Trump F-bomb

Net neutrality has overwhelming public support, noted industry experts. Paid prioritization can lead to price hikes for internet access, content providers can raise subscription rates or monthly fees for customers in order to offset the cost of access fees. A net neutrality bill is also making its way through California legislature. They counter that internet providers will slowly and quietly begin manipulating the internet with moves that will change the web from a level playing field to one tilted in favor of big companies.

"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", Sohn says.

Why was net neutrality repealed?

This is a massive change for equal access to information, but Clevelanders don't seem to be too concerned about the fact internet providers are now within their legal right to start deeply affecting what content you see and how fast you can access it (as seen with its Twitter trends at right).

In the wake of the FCC's repeal of its net neutrality rules, several states have adopted their own protections. But not in Washington state!

The Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules last month.

Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn't likely to become law. But they aren't prevented from doing so.


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