FCC leader promises better Internet as net neutrality rules expire

The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Net Neutrality in December.

"We once again call on Congress to pass, this year, a law protecting the core principles of an open internet - no blocking, no throttling, no censorship, no unfair discrimination based on online content - and including robust consumer privacy protections that apply to all entities in the internet ecosystem and no matter how consumers access the internet". Plain and simple, thanks to the FCC's rollback of net neutrality, Internet providers have the legal green light, the technical ability, and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate what we see, read, and learn online.

Net neutrality ended six months after the FCC voted to scrub the previous rules, despite widespread public opposition to the decision. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue. "Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition", Pai wrote. The rules that were repealed banned ISPs from blocking websites or apps; ISPs were also banned from throttling or slowing down data due to the nature of content if that content was legal.

Last month, the Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules. The longer-term ramifications of a world without net neutrality is what concerns proponents of a fair and open internet - issues like a threat to free flow of information and a hazard to speech rights. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair. Instead, the agency will only require providers to publicly disclose how they treat internet traffic, and will leave it up to the Federal Trade Commission to make sure they are doing what they said and aren't being anticompetitive.

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The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support. Some states are moving to restore net neutrality, and lawsuits are pending. ISPs formerly made the case that net neutrality failed to allow them to recoup the costs incurred in linking their networks to content providers, often citing Netflix, which consumes a double-digit percentage of all Internet traffic in the United States during peak hours. Without rules prohibiting paid prioritization, a fast lane could be occupied by big internet and media companies, as well as affluent households, while everyone else would be left in the slow lane. State officials, members of Congress, technology companies and various advocacy groups are still pushing to save the rules through legislation and litigation.

The FCC is nearly certain to challenge Washington as the agency asserted preemption, in which federal laws have precedent over state ones. If the only providers that can serve state governments are those that observe net neutrality, these states reason, then it could shape what services consumers are offered, too. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

In 2015, the FCC stripped the FTC - the nation's premier consumer protection agency - of its authority over internet service providers.

As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills meant to ensure net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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