Net Neutrality Is Alive and Well in Washington State

Net Neutrality Is Alive and Well in Washington State

Net Neutrality Is Alive and Well in Washington State

Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the retraction of net neutrality rules was needed to remove needless and onerous regulations. "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it". The FTC can't take action unless something can clearly be proven to be "unfair or deceptive", something that's tricky to do in the net neutrality realm where anti-competitive behavior is often disguised as routine network management. 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. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane. Yet critics say companies are likely to invest simply because they now believe they can ramp up prices and earn more money from consumers and websites.

Net neutrality is no longer the law of the land. Though whether anything will change depends on where you live, and what internet service providers choose to do with their newfound freedom.

"The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy", said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight For the Future, in a statement Monday.

"Americans across the country are raising their voices against the Trump assault on the free Internet, yet House Republicans inexplicably refuse to listen to the will of the people and save net neutrality", she continued.

Lyons said he thinks the likelihood of actual harm from net neutrality is relatively remote, and that laws that already exist to regulate corporations, like anti-trust regulations, will prevent ISPs from behaving badly.

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"Net neutrality ensures equal access to online content regardless of who is providing or requesting information", Florian Schaub, an assistant professor at the University of MI who specializes in internet privacy, wrote in a paper recently published in the academic journal Media and Communication.

In essence, the rules attempted to ensure a level playing field so that ISPs wouldn't favor their own services (in particular streaming video) over those by third parties by throttling and charging extra for certain traffic. Per the net neutrality order, states can not enact any legislation that attempts to circumvent the repeal.

Pai claimed in a CNET op-ed that the repeal preserves the Internet as "an open platform where you are free to go where you want" and that it "will protect consumers and promote better, faster Internet access and more competition". They couldn't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

Proponents of net neutrality quickly mobilized for the overturn of the FCC's repeal, and last month, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would scrap the FCC's decision and retain net neutrality rules. And three other states, California, New York and IL, plan to pass their own versions soon.

And while net neutrality is polarizing, it is an example of a regulation that both companies and consumers agree on.

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