Economy

USA officially repeals net neutrality rules

USA officially repeals net neutrality rules

With the end of net neutrality, Broadband providers insist they won't do anything that harms the "internet experience" for consumers. In that country, a powerful alliance between the central government and national telecom companies has created a digital dystopia, where websites and online services that fall out of favor load so slowly as to render them unusable.

The debate around net neutrality has been going on for years, but it gained massive attention when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in April 2017 that he would reverse the Title II classification of Internet service providers, meaning large broadband companies like Verizon and Comcast could give special treatment to certain online content. Silicon Valley leaders and investors have been fighting for the rules ever since.

Public protests greeted the Federal Communications Commission's plan to end use of the rules, with many saying it could have an impact on free speech.

"The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy", Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer said in a statement. "But it has sparked an unprecedented backlash from across the political spectrum, and Internet users are coming out of the woodwork to fight tooth and nail in Congress, in the courts, and at the local and state level".

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Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.

Martin said broadband providers probably won't mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers. On Thursday, with the official repeal date looming, dozens of senators sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to schedule a vote on the issue.

Meanwhile, more than 30 states are weighing legislation to restore the net neutrality rules for their residents. Pai and his colleagues will have to defend their decision before judges likely to be skeptical of the FCC's rationale for destroying open-internet protections and putting nothing else in their place.

But they could start charging extra for services not yet offered. It's a major turning point for Internet policy and the Web as a whole, as broadband providers will enjoy additional freedom to seek new ways of making money in a rapidly changing market. In January, attorneys general in 22 states and the District of Columbia filed a protective petition for review of the order. Those rules required online service providers to treat all internet traffic the same without slowing or blocking content from competing providers. "Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past, "he said in 2015".

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DOJ lawyers have argued that AT&T's deal would lead to higher prices for consumers, especially if the combined company withheld popular channels, like CNN or TNT, until other cable providers paid higher rates to carry them.

"It is a period of profound change", said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of Pai's chief critics, "and we are also watching a lot of the big get even bigger".

Tech companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar concerns in regulatory filings.

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