Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Your internet use could change as 'net neutrality' ends

BackyardProduction  Getty Images BackyardProduction Getty Images
Beatrice Douglas | 15 June, 2018, 10:21

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday put into effect a new rule called "Restoring Internet Freedom", which replaces net neutrality, the Obama-era regulation that ensured internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) treat all websites and content equally.

Consumers won't notice changes any time soon, as the new rules will take a while to take effect.

"I think ultimately it's going to mean better, faster, cheaper internet access and more competition", Pai told the Washington Post.

Political analyst Gary Nordlinger says these new rules could affect the way internet providers do business.

Now, all that is legal as long as companies post their policies online.

Pai was also interviewed on CBS and denied that ISPs are likely to violate net neutrality principles despite the past examples of Comcast throttling BitTorrent and AT&T blocking FaceTime.

The battle isn't entirely over, though. Net neutrality is dead.

To start, activists today will rally to gather support for an effort to use the Congressional Review act to reverse the FCC's repeal with a majority vote in the House and Senate. And in its repeal decision, the FCC explicitly rejects the idea that it has much authority to regulate Internet providers at all.

Most now have service terms that specify they won't give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own.

Any changes now, while the spotlight is on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash. There was also concern that without net neutrality rules in place, broadband providers could create tiered packages similar to cable TV. However, you might not see any immediate changes today.


The law doesn't prohibit so-called zero rating, in which companies providing a service pay the costs of delivering data to an ISP's customer. AT&T has had a contract with Netflix since 2014, but they don't have a contract with Hulu.

More than 20 states have sued the FCC to stop the repeal.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era rules in December in what was seen as a major victory for Republicans who had pledged to scrap the rules.

Pai argued that net neutrality created a disincentive for internet services to invest in their networks.

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

Over the past year, Google and the social media monopolies Facebook and Twitter have moved to implement a regime of internet censorship at the behest of the U.S. intelligence agencies, for which the Democrats have served as the mouthpieces.

There are many outspoken opponents of the FCC's move, though, including state governments, tech companies, rights groups and attorneys general.

Martin said broadband providers probably won't mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers.

"ISPs could curate what online content and services most people will have access to, and which ones will only be available to those who are willing to and can afford to pay extra", Schaub added.

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