Local professors weigh in on Internet use without net neutrality

Kelley Robertson
June 13, 2018

Net neutrality is a way to ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) treat all online data equally - and former President Barack Obama's administration enacted a law that protected it in 2015.

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.

The industry has largely promised not to block or throttle websites in the absence of the rules, and the repeal order is still facing a legal challenge from a coalition of net neutrality supporters. People are never going to be more "in control" of their online experience than when they're using an unthrottled, unmetered unlimited data connection, which is a luxury that is going to go away if the telecoms companies get their way. "They now have nearly free reign over what content their subscribers will have access to", he wrote. "Any kind of service or app that needs faster speeds, larger bandwidth, that's where you'll see service potentially decline". "At the FCC, we have a transparency rule, where every company in the United States has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company that engages in any anti-competitive conduct".

As the FCC's rollback of net neutrality protections officially took effect on Monday, a broad coalition of free press and digital rights campaigners vowed to maintain pressure on members of Congress to either restore the federal rules "or prepare to face our wrath" in the November midterm elections. "Hold the obituaries. Net neutrality is not dead", Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer said in a statement. "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".

Washington became the first state to set up their own net neutrality requirements in March when Governor Jay Inslee signed a measure with bipartisan support. The new rules are, effectively, the absence of old rules: starting today, internet service providers (ISPs) can do a few big things they were previously not allowed to do.

MI is not one of them. They can even prevent us from being able to access information on certain topics, news events, or issues the ISP doesn't want us to know about.

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal. But not in Washington state!

Zero-rating programs weren't specifically barred under the now-defunct net neutrality protections.

On May 16, the U.S. Senate, where Republicans hold only a narrow majority, voted 52 to 47 to overturn the decision by the FCC - which is now composed of three Republicans and Rosenworcel.

There are two main schools of thought as to how the end of net neutrality will affect everyday internet users.

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