Net Neutrality Officially Expired. Now States Are Passing Their Own Laws

The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer. But not in Washington state

The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer. But not in Washington state

An edge provider, for those wondering, is an individual or entity that provides content, applications or services over the internet, or devices for accessing any of those things over the internet, available to end-users, i.e., the consumers.

He wrote that the biggest US internet companies - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft - controlled much of the online infrastructure, from app stores to operating systems to cloud storage to almost all of the online ad business.

Ahead of the December 14 commission vote that ended those Obama-era net neutrality regulations, current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called those same rules a " heavy-handed, utility-style.mistake" and pledged to stop the federal government from "micromanaging" the internet by introducing a new set of "internet freedom" regulations. They couldn't slow down or block websites and apps of their choosing.

Political analyst Gary Nordlinger says these new rules could affect the way internet providers do business.

Now, all that is legal as long as companies post their policies online.

For instance, both the ISPs and the FCC have claimed that net neutrality has hurt investment.

The battle isn't entirely over, though. However, Congress can still pass a law to simply reverse the repeal or even improve on the previous net neutrality rules.

Pending some surprise moves by the House of Representatives, net neutrality will officially be repealed today.

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"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission.

Until now, anyone who uses any website has grown accustomed to a certain level of speed and service. But companies are likely to start testing the boundaries over the next six months to a year. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

Although the FCC issued a report in January 2017 saying such arrangements, known as "zero rating", are probably anti-consumer, the agency did not require companies to change their practices right away.

Comcast, AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile can also slow down the streaming of a content activity on their network under the new guideline. 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. A third rule banned the practice of paid prioritization, or the offering of the Internet "fast lanes". He has spent more than eight years covering the ways that tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google navigate the corridors of government - and the regulations that sometimes result.

Broadband providers say consumers needn't worry.

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.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some U.S. states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws.

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