Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
IT&Software | By Alfonso Woods

Net Neutrality Lives on in Washington State After FCC Kills It

Net Neutrality Lives on in Washington State After FCC Kills It

The recent FCC's staunch opposition to net neutrality has been met with waves of public backlash, at one point amounting to almost 22 million comments being submitted to the its website, as well as criticism from policy experts who say a repeal of the rules will let internet service providers give preferential treatment to some websites, including their own.

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.

It allows the government to make sure Internet service providers (like Verizon or AT&T) can't block certain content or slow down websites that they do not have contracts with.

What's more, internet advocates have always been concerned that if broadband providers are able to create so-called fast lanes to particular sites and services, they will in effect slow down traffic to all other locations on the internet.

Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change - though not right away - following Monday's official repeal of Obama-era internet protections. For example, net neutrality ensured that an ordinary citizen's blog about local politics would not be slowed down or delayed from users in favor of paid advertisements or companies that pay a prioritization fee. 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.

Some lawmakers, states and tech companies are still fighting to save the rule.

Those last two should stick out to you, as they have been key points in the debates surrounding net neutrality rules.

Some states are trying to ensure that net neutrality is in effect, these states include Washington, Montana, and NY; other states have legislation pending. The repeal takes effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo them.

While it's unclear what the repeal will look like for consumers in the United States, advocacy group Free Press has cited numerous examples of behaviors pre-dating net neutrality laws in advocating against the repeal. For consumers at home, it's still unclear how and whether this will affect your internet speeds. Deregulation could potentially change what you can access on the internet. Net neutrality explained: "imagine internet is pizza." Those on the political left (and about 83 percent of Americans) feel that net neutrality regulations were important for personal freedom and made for a more fair marketplace.

Why was net neutrality repealed?

The Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules last month.

"Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Pai wrote in his CNET op-ed. As a result, the internet could become more like the TV networks, where you pay for different packages of internet services.

For now, we are in a wait and see mode to see what happens next.

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