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techkenyot.com July 15, 2018


The End Of Net Neutrality Is Here

12 June 2018, 03:35 | Hattie Nash

New US Neutrality Rules Repealed; Supporters, Critics of Move Wonder What's Next

Net neutrality rules are now dead. Here's what that means for you, and what happens next

Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same.

Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has accused Democrats of "scare tactics" in their opposition to net neutrality repeal. 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.

A collection of advocacy groups has called for "mass online actions" on June 11 to once again call attention to the issue and pressure Congress to act.

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"Poll after poll after poll after poll shows large majorities of Republican voters in opposition to the FCC's repeal", Karr pointed out. "Our transparency rule will also help ensure that any problematic conduct by Internet service providers is quickly identified and corrected". 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.

"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.

The fear is not totally irrational; in Portugal, where there is no net neutrality law, internet providers have already started offering bundles that include various combinations of websites; a music bundle, a social bundle, a messaging bundle, a video bundle etc. Users can still access all the sites without paying for the bundle - but if you do, you risk going over your data quota, and if you do, well, you'll have to cough up extra funds.

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These are set to replaced by a set of lighter-touch regulations passed months ago. "And under the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform".

Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service. If you're interested in letting your representatives know where you stand on net neutrality and how you'd like them to vote, you can see a tally of who has and hasn't agreed to support net neutrality here. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, governors in six states - New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii - have signed executive orders upholding net neutrality, and three - Washington, Vermont and OR - have enacted legislation that does so. If House net neutrality supporters can get those last votes, which is unlikely, the decision would still need to be signed by President Trump who is expected to veto it if it ever came to that. And three other states, California, New York and IL, plan to pass their own versions soon. But unlike with the issues of blocking or slowing access to internet services, they've been much less definitive on fast lanes.

"It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC's 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all", they said in a letter Thursday.

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