As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed to his position by President Trump, drafted the repeal of net neutrality rules for the sake of innovation and increased broadband investment, he said.

Net neutrality was repealed previous year under an order called the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order.

Congress attempted to overturn the FCC repeal, passing a resolution to do so with a bipartisan vote in May. Rosenworcel voted against the FCC's repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Rules in December with another Democratic commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, who has since left the agency. 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. Well, guess what: they've finally, actually killed net neutrality. Led by its then-Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, the FCC approved rules that banned the blocking and slowing of Web content by Internet providers.

"The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy", said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight For the Future, in a statement Monday. Under the new policy, a violation might occur when regulators find out that an Internet provider has been blocking websites without saying so.

"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. Although the direct effects of the repeal are unknown, companies will have to assess how much change consumers will tolerate, according to the Associated Press.

Happening today: Rules that prevented internet providers (like Comcast) from slowing or speeding up service to some sites (like Netflix) are no longer in effect.

But the FCC's outgoing rules already allowed broadband providers leeway to create special data channels for such services where the net-neutrality provisions wouldn't apply. Despite efforts from state officials and members of Congress, there will now be fewer rules governing how Internet providers can operate.

Another misleading ISP claim is that they want to get rid of Title II, and not net neutrality rules in general.

Supporters of net neutrality argue that ISPs should deliver access to online content and apps equally, and prefer rules the FCC passed in 2015. What's more, five Democratic governors have issued executive orders barring their states from doing business with a broadband firm that violates the principals of net neutrality. As a result, the internet could become more like the TV networks, where you pay for different packages of internet services. Several states, including New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and California, have gone so far as to push legislation to enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.

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