Net Neutrality Repeal Goes Into Effect

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The FCC changes were passed last December, shepherded by Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who says the new lighter-touch rules are more market-friendly than the "utility-style regulation" in the Obama-era.

Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and Comcast have a great deal of freedom over how they conduct their business.

The rules also barred a broadband provider from, say, slowing down Amazon's shopping site to extract business concessions.

Paid prioritization: Service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who paid premiums and a slow lane for those who didn't. 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.

According to the op-ed, Pai thinks that transferring power over the internet to ISPs will "protect consumers".

She worries that with the regulations now expired, some websites will be blocked or censored, and service could slow.

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Late last week, Senators were sending letters to House Speaker Paul Ryan in the hopes of pushing him to schedule a vote on the issue. For consumers at home, it's still unclear how and whether this will affect your internet speeds. In 2015, the FCC stripped the FTC - the nation's premier consumer protection agency - of its authority over internet service providers.

Any changes now, while the spotlight is on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash.

Under net neutrality, Internet providers had to treat all users equally. The more realistic goal of the act is to put pressure on Republicans ahead of the 2020 elections - only changes in leadership are likely to have an effect on U.S.net neutrality rules.

But Gigi Sohn, former counselor for former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, said in a statement Monday that consumers will have little recourse against ISPs if they have a complaint about internet providers' behavior: "For the first time since the creation of broadband, the (FCC) will not take responsibility for protecting consumers or competition". Congress could step in if several states pass their own legislation, and given the Republican majority, advocates for net neutrality are skeptical about the outcome.

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. But far more realistically, we're probably going to see some gradual shifts in our service over time, especially since Comcast backed down on its good-faith promise the day the repeal passed and has previously limited access to peer-to-peer applications.

Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections. Additionally, 22 states' and Washington DC's attorneys general have filed a lawsuit alongside almost a dozen other groups, challenging the FCC decision. We're also waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will agree to hear a separate lawsuit on net neutrality.

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