Obama-era net neutrality has ended: What does it mean for you?

Net neutrality ends this Monday June 11th motion to keep it alive could die in the House

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the Obama-era regulations in December.

As you surf the internet, you might not notice anything different. Say, for example, Time Warner, which is already an investor an Hulu, strikes a deal for streaming services - meaning Hulu pays Time Warner a fee to prioritize its content over others.Time Warner could "block" or "throttle" Netflix if it declined to pay Time Warner a fee, slowing it down for users while Hulu runs at full speed in a "fast lane". If the only providers that can serve state governments are those that observe net neutrality, these states reason, then it could shape what services consumers are offered, too.

Although the FCC's repeal takes effect Monday, it's not the end of the road for net neutrality.

Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the retraction of net neutrality rules was needed to remove needless and onerous regulations. Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules.

The net neutrality rules are no longer the law of the land. Now Comcast Cable president Dave Watson posted a blog post today to reconfirm Comcast's "committed to an open internet". We're also waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will agree to hear a separate lawsuit on net neutrality.

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The Federal Trade Commission will be able to investigate if internet providers engage in anticompetitive behavior. 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. 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.

Since late 2017, Free Press, my organization, has joined with other advocacy groups and online companies in calling on Congress to pass a resolution of disapproval that would reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules. Senate Democrats forced a vote to restore net neutrality through the Congressional Review Act in May. But far more realistically, we're probably going to see some gradual shifts in our service over time, especially since Comcast backed down on its good-faith promise the day the repeal passed and has previously limited access to peer-to-peer applications. This is how the term "net neutrality" was coined - the idea was that every bit is the same and that ISPs can't charge differentiated prices based on different types of services.

A more urgent battle is brewing in several states, which are passing their versions of net neutrality rules in defiance of the federal repeal.

"It is a period of profound change", said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of Pai's chief critics, "and we are also watching a lot of the big get even bigger".

Net neutrality is the basic principle that all internet traffic should be be treated equally.

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