[H]ardOCP: Net Neutrality Is Really, Officially Dead on Monday

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pushed to overturn his agency's 2015 net neutrality protections

Nor could we go back in time and undo the harm to consumers or to the competitive evolution of the marketplace.

But the FCC's outgoing rules already allowed broadband providers leeway to create special data channels for such services where the net-neutrality provisions wouldn't apply.

"Net neutrality ensures equal access to online content regardless of who is providing or requesting information", Florian Schaub, an assistant professor at the University of MI who specializes in internet privacy, wrote in a paper recently published in the academic journal Media and Communication. Internet service providers, or ISPs, deny that they would engage in such a practice - yet consumer watchdogs worry that consumers would have little legal recourse if they did.

What's Everyone so Worried About?

"I think ultimately it's going to mean better, faster, cheaper Internet access and more competition", Pai said in an interview.

Some small-business owners are anxious, too, that industry giants could pay to get an edge and leave them on an unfair playing field. Nor could they charge Netflix and other video services extra to reach viewers more smoothly. Remote workers of all kinds, including freelancers and franchisees in the so-called gig economy, could similarly face higher costs to do their jobs from home.

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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. Consumer groups have charged that when zero-rating plans are used to promote services owned by the broadband providers, or by companies that pay the providers to market them, they are akin to fast lanes.

Several states have taken measures to ensure the rules stay in effect. Even at the federal level, there is an effort to restore the rules the FCC had in place. At least 29 states have introduced more than 65 bills aimed at protecting net neutrality and seven states - Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Oregon and Vermont - enacted executive orders that made it illegal for state agencies to enter contracts with ISPs that don't uphold net neutrality.

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.

Democrats are fewer than 50 votes from advancing a resolution in the House of Representatives to reinstate the 2015 rules. In fact, since "net neutrality" and the government's regulation of the internet was implemented by the Obama administration without Congressional authority, investment in the internet has dropped by 5%, which translates to $3 billion in lost investment in only two years. However, the internet has been relatively quiet in comparison as the changes went live today. "President Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed on a light-touch framework to regulating the internet".

"Most of us believe in a free, open, and available Internet and agree that it should remain that way. We still don't and won't block, throttle or discriminate against lawful content". Before 2015 The FTC had control over regulating the internet and it was only for the three years that the FCC had control. Twenty-three attorneys general, along with various technology associations, consumer watchdogs and companies including Mozilla, are now suing to reinstate the former rules. On Thursday, with the official repeal date looming, dozens of senators sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to schedule a vote on the issue.

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