Net Neutrality Repeal Goes Into Effect

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Passed by the Republican-led FCC in December, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order ends the agency's prohibitions against internet service providers blocking, slowing down, or providing preferential treatment to particular internet sites and services.

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai spearheaded the repeal of the agency's net-neutrality rules. In other words, no speeding up, slowing down or blocking specific websites or online services.

ISPs can charge access fees (known as "paid prioritization") to content providers like Google, Facebook, and Netflix in order to send content to consumers.

Organizations that fought to preserve net neutrality say the battle isn't over.

No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.

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"Consumers won't notice the shift at first, but over time the internet will become unrecognizable", she said.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last week the rollback will ensure more investment by providers and will ensure "better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people".

"We did it to have a free and open internet", Hansen said. However, Congress can still pass a law to simply reverse the repeal or even improve on the previous net neutrality rules.

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

In the era of net neutrality, the internet was a level playing field.

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When fighting against the 2015 net neutrality rules, the ISPs said nearly in unison that they would prefer to leave net neutrality rules to Congress instead of the FCC.

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal. If the only providers that can serve state governments are those that observe net neutrality, these states reason, then it could shape what services consumers are offered, too.

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Net neutrality gave the FCC authority over internet providers, which now is being handed back to the Federal Trade Commission, Pai wrote in an article for CNET.

The Senate voted 52-47 last month to overturn the FCC's plan, but the House, which is doesn't intend to take up the issue-making the Senate's move largely symbolic.

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The general uncertainty around the future of net neutrality is likely to extend through much of this year, according to those pushing for legislation and litigation, if not longer. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, governors in six states - New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii - have signed executive orders upholding net neutrality, and three - Washington, Vermont and OR - have enacted legislation that does so. The Senate already voted in favor of the effort, which now faces tougher odds in terms of getting a House vote and avoiding a veto by President Trump.