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As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

Pai's FCC has eliminated rules that prohibited Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic.

To restore the net neutrality rules, the House would have to vote in line with the Senate, and President Donald Trump would also have to sign the measure. For example, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices.

While the now-defunct net neutrality rules didn't specifically address interchange disputes, they did give the FCC broad latitude to oversee the "general conduct" of broadband providers to determine if the companies were being anticompetitive or interfering with customers' ability to access internet sites and services. According to Wired, Comcast, the nation's largest broadband provider, is momentarily forbidden from violating net neutrality rules under the terms of the government's approval of its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal.

Furthermore, the ISPs could also throttle or even block competing services. The rules, which have the overwhelming bipartisan support of the vast majority of Americans, prevented major ISPs like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from further abusing a lack of competition in the broadband. The idea was to keep the internet open and uncensored.

Media captionWhat is net neutrality and how could it affect you?

But both of these approaches are expected to lead to court challenges by the FCC, whose new policy on net neutrality contains explicit language that tries to preempt states from doing exactly what the legislation and executive orders are meant to do.

"Each day that goes by that we don't have Net Neutrality protections because the FCC repealed them, we're going to see a slow chipping away of the open internet we've all come to rely on", says Mark Stanley with Demand Progress.

Meanwhile, legal battles against the FCC rollback of net neutrality are still underway.




"We need a referee on the field who can throw a flag", former FCC Chairman and Obama appointee Tom Wheeler said at MIT during a panel discussion in support of rules like those he championed.

"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", Sohn says.

"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission. Now, the matter rests in the House, which has until the end of the year to bring it to a vote.

FILE PHOTO: Chairman Ajit Pai speaks ahead of the vote on the repeal of so called net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, U.S., December 14, 2017.

In the wake of the FCC's repeal of its net neutrality rules, several states have adopted their own protections.

Most agree that it's unlikely that internet users will see any big changes in the near future. "Monopoly phone and cable companies will undoubtedly seek to maximize profits by favoring their own content over their competitors and creating fast lanes and slow lanes ultimately at the expense of consumers". It will head to the State Assembly, where hearings will begin in June and must be voted on by the end of August.

Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections.