Net neutrality rules officially repealed in US

Net neutrality rules officially repealed in US

The proposal by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to lift what chairman Ajit Pai described as "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations" on broadband internet service providers (ISPs) was first mooted late previous year. They imposed increased government oversight of internet service providers by requiring them to treat web content equally and barring the blocking or slowing of rivals' content.

Companies like Comcast and Verizon can now speed up, slow down or block specific websites or online services. Some users could opt-in to disclose their browsing history for a discount on their internet service.

It could mean service providers will charge their customers more. They couldn't slow down or block websites and apps of their choosing.

There is also 5G internet being rolled out later this year that will bring new wireless home internet options.

The rules, enacted by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2015, prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content or from giving preferential treatment to certain websites. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair. This information will allow consumers to make an informed decision about which internet service provider is best for them and give entrepreneurs the information they need as they develop new products and services.

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.

The measure in the House seeks to reinstate the 2015 rules.

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"Internet service providers spent millions of dollars lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality, and they are certainly going to expect a healthy return on that investment", the ACLU blogged last week.

Supporters of net neutrality are concerned that without it, we could lose access to a free and open internet. "After a historic bipartisan vote in the Senate to reverse the FCC, the House must now listen to the 80 percent of Americans who are demanding net neutrality stay on the books". Pai doesn't explain what will happen if they don't follow through, other than saying that the "problematic conduct" will be "corrected".

The Internet Association said on Monday that the "internet industry remains committed to restoring net neutrality protections through the courts, legislation, and administrative action".

Ajit Pai, in an op-ed piece published today, championed the end of Net Neutrality regulations.

The repeal decision is now facing a lawsuit from Democratic state attorneys general and consumer groups.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some USA states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws. Comcast, for example, has changed its stated commitments concerning net neutrality and no longer mentions anything about paid prioritization, otherwise known as fast lanes.

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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