Your internet use could change as 'net neutrality' ends

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After a drawn-out battle between internet advocates and Trump's Federal Communications Commission, today marks the official end of net neutrality.

However, while Pai has focused on how the new rules require ISPs to be transparent "about their network management practices", he hasn't touched on some of the most criticized aspects of the repeal: the ability to throttle, prioritize, or block content and internet access.

The Obama-era net-neutrality regulations that barred broadband providers from slowing or blocking internet traffic expired Monday, a major milestone in a debate that continues in the courts and Congress as Democrats press to restore the rules. Some users could opt-in to disclose their browsing history for a discount on their internet service.

Pai attempted to bolster the FCC's decision through claims that the new regulations introduces stronger transparency laws and hence more protection for the consumer. They couldn't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

Late last week, Senators were sending letters to House Speaker Paul Ryan in the hopes of pushing him to schedule a vote on the issue.

"We once again call on Congress to pass, this year, a law protecting the core principles of an open internet - no blocking, no throttling, no censorship, no unfair discrimination based on online content - and including robust consumer privacy protections that apply to all entities in the internet ecosystem and no matter how consumers access the internet". They're anxious the providers will charge consumers extra to reach particular sites and services in a speedy manner, either by directly billing them or by charging companies like Netflix, which could be expected to pass on the costs to their subscribers.

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Net Neutrality, a term coined by Columbia University media law professor and former NY state lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, is a rule where all telecommunication companies must treat all data equality and may not discriminate or charge differently.

However, in the op-ed Pai does not defend against any of the common arguments for Net Neutrality. Some states are creating their own net neutrality rules, but are barred by the FCC from implementing them. "Their wisest course of action will be to eliminate net neutrality like a slow drip over time in the hope that consumers won't notice and will stop caring". ISPs will be under the scanner of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that will be able to investigate if internet providers engage in anti-competitive behavior. "These positive and profound benefits of a free and open internet - among many others - are here to stay".

The FCC is nearly certain to challenge Washington as the agency asserted preemption, in which federal laws have precedent over state ones.

The FCC is also facing a number of lawsuits from consumer rights groups as well as state attorneys.

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.

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.

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