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Schumer blames congressional GOP for net neutrality repeal

Schumer blames congressional GOP for net neutrality repeal”

The FCC voted in December to end the Obama-era net neutrality rules that imposed regulations on the Internet.

"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission.

Net neutrality rules were enacted to keep internet providers from blocking certain websites and changing the speed of access to some content.

"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. Telecoms are now free to block, slow, or otherwise discriminate against online content and services. The idea was to keep the internet open and uncensored. Before the FCC passed the net neutrality rules in 2015, there were already reports that Verizon and Comcast were slowing down Netflix, YouTube, and other services.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed to his position by President Trump, drafted the repeal of net neutrality rules for the sake of innovation and increased broadband investment, he said. Startups without the resources to pay to remove throttling or for faster lanes might be unable to ever compete with established players.

Some states are trying to ensure that net neutrality is in effect, these states include Washington, Montana, and NY; other states have legislation pending.

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Experts warn a non-neutral net creates an unfair playing field between the mammoth internet companies that can afford to "pay to play" versus start-ups and smaller businesses.

Broadband companies have said that they will still continue to uphold the Net Neutrality principles but some Net Neutrality supporters say that it's not enough to just trust all the companies.

But wait. What exactly is net neutrality? Legislation in other states, like California and NY, is still proceeding and likely to be as strict as Washington's.

Some Congressional Democrats are seeking a repeal of their own, the overturning of the 2017 order that ends the 2015 rules.

The general uncertainty around the future of net neutrality is likely to extend through much of this year, according to those pushing for legislation and litigation, if not longer. 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.

The FCC's new rules require ISPs to publicly disclose how they manage traffic, but they charge the Federal Trade Commission with handling complaints should they arise. 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.



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