US net neutrality rules expire, court battle looms

Ceria Alfonso
Junio 13, 2018

Under the replacement rules adopted by Pai's FCC, the Federal Trade Commission will police internet service providers. In a statement at the time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai framed the upcoming repeal as removing burdensome regulations.

But consumer advocates say that the repeal is just pandering to big business and that cable and phone giants will now be free to block access to services they don't like. For example, an ISP could charge a base fee for basic internet, and $5 extra for a social media package that includes Facebook and Twitter, or a $10 entertainment package that bundles in streaming music as well. Most major internet providers have publicly pledged not to cherry-pick consumer content, though activists say without enforcement those are largely empty promises.

"In 2015, the FCC stripped the FTC - the nation's premier consumer protection agency - of its authority over internet service providers". Nor could we go back in time and undo the harm to consumers or to the competitive evolution of the marketplace.

We gather here today to mark and mourn the death of net neutrality, which, despite a valient fight and 9 million comments to the FCC, officially took its last breath on least, if you don't live in Washington state, where, as soon net neutrality died, it was immediately reborn. Those Obama-era rules prevented ISPs from blocking or slowing legal traffic, or from being paid for prioritized, faster delivery. Some consumers fear a slower Internet and higher costs for broadband delivery.

Paid prioritization: Service providers could not create an internet fast lane for companies and consumers who paid premiums and a slow lane for those who didn't. They're anxious the providers will charge consumers extra to reach particular sites and services in a speedy manner, either by directly billing them or by charging companies like Netflix, which could be expected to pass on the costs to their subscribers. 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. "Network investment topped $1.5 trillion", he wrote.

More news: Juez autoriza fusión de AT&T y Time Warner sin condiciones

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press and the think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla. So it's not far-fetched to think a company like Comcast could throttle Netflix (or other innovative content providers) and make it impossible to watch a movie or other content without constant buffering. Before 2015 The FTC had control over regulating the internet and it was only for the three years that the FCC had control. "We don't want to be blocked or throttled or have our online experience subject to the whims of an internet provider".

The repeal decision is now facing a lawsuit from Democratic state attorneys general and consumer groups.

Perhaps the repeal won't change the direction of the internet. How has Amazon's entry changed the grocery business?

The Internet Association said on Monday that the "internet industry remains committed to restoring net neutrality protections through the courts, legislation, and administrative action".

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