Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

U.S. net neutrality rules expire, court battle looms

U.S. net neutrality rules expire, court battle looms

After a drawn-out battle between internet advocates and Trump's Federal Communications Commission, today marks the official end of net neutrality.

A group representing major cable companies and TV networks said Monday that "despite a new round of outlandish claims and doomsday predictions from groups dedicated to stoking political controversy, consumers will be able to see for themselves that their internet service will keep working as always has and will keep getting better".

"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", said Pai, per a CNN report. "They are not concerned that Internet service providers are going to block access to lawful content". Although the direct effects of the repeal are unknown, companies will have to assess how much change consumers will tolerate, according to the Associated Press. In a statement at the time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai framed the upcoming repeal as removing burdensome regulations.

Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. OR passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports.

"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.

The repeal effectively narrows what the federal government would consider a net neutrality violation.

How could the net neutrality repeal affect you?

Violations of their promises - or behaviors that threaten competition or consumers - now fall under the watch of the Federal Trade Commission, not the telecom-focused FCC. In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations. It also gives them the freedom to charge people more money for faster access, which would likely make the entire internet slower for everyone else.

Customers of streaming services like Netflix could see their subscription fees rise if the company chooses to pay more. Eventually, these extra charges could be passed along to the public.

Still, supporters have hoped to force a public vote on the issue, because with midterm elections looming some lawmakers might be swayed as net neutrality is a resonant issue with voters.

"It is a period of profound change", said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of Pai's chief critics, "and we are also watching a lot of the big get even bigger".

In response to the state action, USTelecom is "exploring legal action", said Spalter, citing the FCC's order explicitly preempting states from acting on net neutrality. And consumer groups note that should the FCC repeal survive the looming lawsuits, the end result won't be pretty for American consumers. "The internet is coming for net neutrality", said Greer.

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