Local business owner fears effects of net neutrality repeal

Opponents to this change fear that the repeal of net neutrality rules will open the door for service providers to censor content online or to charge more for certain types of content. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he wants to return to a "light-touch" regulatory framework for the internet and is kicking authority to police broadband companies over to the FTC. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue. Say, for example, Time Warner, which is already an investor an Hulu, strikes a deal for streaming services - meaning Hulu pays Time Warner a fee to prioritize its content over others.Time Warner could "block" or "throttle" Netflix if it declined to pay Time Warner a fee, slowing it down for users while Hulu runs at full speed in a "fast lane".

But net neutrality remains alive and well in Washington, thanks to a bi-partisan bill that was signed into law earlier this year. 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. Those protections are transparency rules that require ISPs to publicly disclose any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.

"It's patently illegal for the states to make their own internet policy", said Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who served on President Trump's transition team for the FCC.

As of today, Obama-era regulations were rolled back, getting rid of what's known as net-neutrality.

Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally.

The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support.

Individual states have also started taking action against the repeal of net neutrality.

Pai attempted to bolster the FCC's decision through claims that the new regulations introduces stronger transparency laws and hence more protection for the consumer. The Senate last month passed a Congressional Review Act measure 52-47 aiming to overturn the 2017 measure (the CRA is a quick way to overturn newly-passed regulations within 60 legislative days of passage). Consumer groups have charged that when zero-rating plans are used to promote services owned by the broadband providers, or by companies that pay the providers to market them, they are akin to fast lanes.

Meanwhile, as an added "bonus", Verizon and Comcast successfully lobbied the FCC to include language in the repal banning states from trying to protect consumers in the wake of the reduced FCC oversight. Its chairman has long argued against the rules, pointing out that before they were put into effect in 2015, service providers had not engaged in any of the practices the rules prohibited. And consumer groups note that should the FCC repeal survive the looming lawsuits, the end result won't be pretty for American consumers. T-Mobile, for example, was criticized by net neutrality supporters for effectively making it cheaper for customers to stream videos from Netflix and HBO, putting other video services at a disadvantage. Several states, including New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and California, have gone so far as to push legislation to enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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