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Net neutrality rollback: FCC chairman Ajit Pai responds to critics

Net neutrality rollback: FCC chairman Ajit Pai responds to critics

fccdotgov/FlickrToday, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) repeal of Obama-era "net neutrality" regulations goes into effect.

Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same.

Here's how the the order may - or may not - affect you.

The news rules now leave the policing of how internet service providers handle web traffic to the Federal Trade Commission, which is tasked with making sure internet providers don't engage in "anti-competitive" behavior.

Will my access to Netflix or other sites slow down?

Internet service providers (ISP) use zero-rating plans to promote a particular service - usually one they own or have a stake in.

However, it's possible that access could slow anyway. The slowdown was only fixed after Netflix agreed to pay for the upgrades.

In practice, individuals will likely end up paying for better service, and companies and websites will pay for their content to load more quickly. The rules also restricted ISPs from charging extra for certain traffic, creating so-called fast lanes for companies and consumers.

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'They don't want to add fuel to the fire, ' Martin said. "And in the medium- to long-term, I think we're going to see more investment in high-speed networks, particularly in rural areas that are hard to serve". The intention was to keep the internet open and fair.

The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them. Under the new guidelines, ISPs can block, throttle, or prioritize internet content as much as they like, as long as they clearly disclose to customers that that's what they're doing. More than 80 percent of Americans support net neutrality, according to a University of Maryland poll released in December. The court battle will also highlight how the FCC turned a blind eye to identity theft and fraud during the public comment period (which was the public's only real chance to express disdain for the FCC's policy). So, the broadband providers are likely to move cautiously.

Most agree that it's unlikely that internet users will see any big changes in the near future.

Still, the providers have seem to be paving the way to make changes. He says that net neutrality, passed in 2015, "depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation".

After President Donald Trump appointed a new chairman to the FCC, the agency reversed its stance on zero rating and proceeded to kill net neutrality. Last month, the Senate passed a last-ditch effort to overturn the FCC's repeal, but it never progressed to a House vote and was officially repealed Monday.

Do the states have any say about this?

. The industry has largely promised not to block or throttle websites in the absence of the rules, and the repeal order is still facing a legal challenge from a coalition of net neutrality supporters.

Net neutrality was repealed a year ago under an order called the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order. But those rules don't cover every provider in those states, just those that do business with those states' governments. 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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