Net Neutrality Is Finally, Actually Dead


Though major internet service providers say the web will remain essentially unchanged after net neutrality rules are rolled back.

The repeal of "net neutrality" took effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo the rules, which had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix. And today, that repeal has taken effect.

Q. What else can we expect next? Chairman Ajit Pai has said the previous setup was "heavy-handed" and that this newer "light touch" approach will spur more investment and innovation.

"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", Pai said in a statement last month.

A coalition of pro net-neutrality organizations has named Monday, June 11, as "Neutrality Action Day", and they're encouraging members to spread their messages on social media and contact their local representatives in the House. Pai thinks that giving these companies more control over the market will somehow make things better - but he doesn't explain that either.

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. Telecoms are now free to block, slow, or otherwise discriminate against online content and services. But if they start filing lawsuits, we'll know they're full of shit.

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On May 16, the U.S. Senate, where Republicans hold only a narrow majority, voted 52 to 47 to overturn the decision by the FCC - which is now composed of three Republicans and Rosenworcel.

"It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC's 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all", they said in a letter Thursday. "That idea sits at the foundation of internet services, reflects how consumers enjoy the internet today, and despite claims to the contrary, has never truly been in jeopardy". As a result, the internet could become more like the TV networks, where you pay for different packages of internet services.

For anyone who hasn't been following, net neutrality is the concept of treating all internet traffic the same, no matter where it originates from.

"Every Republican who opposed this vote will own any and all of the damaging consequences of the FCC's horribly misguided decision", Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said on Monday.

The Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules last month. More than 80 percent of Americans support net neutrality, according to a University of Maryland poll released in December.