Net Neutrality Rules Roll Back

Delia Walker
June 15, 2018

While the FCC is removing itself from net neutrality regulation, the Federal Trade Commission can try to punish ISPs that make net neutrality promises and fail to keep them.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who voted against the repeal, said Monday that the decision put the FCC "on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public".

Critics of net neutrality, including the Trump administration, say such rules impeded companies' ability to adapt to a quickly evolving internet. "Under that approach, the Internet was open and free", he wrote. Consumer groups have charged that when zero-rating plans are used to promote services owned by the broadband providers, or by companies that pay the providers to market them, they are akin to fast lanes.


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said the agency under Obama overstepped its authority when it imposed the 2015 regulations. The FCC's new rules also require ISPs disclose publicly any blocking or throttling they engage in, as well as reveal any deal in which they prioritize traffic.

She worries that with the regulations now expired, some websites will be blocked or censored, and service could slow. The move is a major milestone in the attack on a free and open internet and on freedom of expression in the United States. "The Internet is coming for net neutrality". But like many ardent net neutrality supporters, Schaub said he thinks it will take a while for the repeal to trickle down to customers, saying it will be more like "small and creeping changes rather than sudden shifts".

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". But now, with the repeal of net neutrality, users could soon see differences in their browsing. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the Internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road. AT&T has had a contract with Netflix since 2014, but they don't have a contract with Hulu.


An edge provider, for those wondering, is an individual or entity that provides content, applications or services over the internet, or devices for accessing any of those things over the internet, available to end-users, i.e., the consumers.

Washington's net neutrality rule casts enforcement as a provision of consumer protection in an attempt to avoid stepping into federal telecommunications statutes. More than 20 states have filed lawsuits to stop the repeal, and a number of states have pushed legislation to enforce net neutrality within its borders. So the carriers are going to look for greater opportunities to diversify their packages, to expand what they offer you.

Martin said broadband providers probably won't mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers. Several states including NY and Washington, have passed regulations that impose net neutrality on a local level.


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