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As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

As Net Neutrality Ends, Activists Push Congress to Restore Obama-Era Rules

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai spearheaded the repeal of the agency's net-neutrality rules. Those rules required online service providers to treat all internet traffic the same without slowing or blocking content from competing providers. In a statement at the time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai framed the upcoming repeal as removing burdensome regulations.

"The big ISPs know that they're being watched - by Congress, by the courts and by their customers", she said. With startups unable to pay for these lanes, there is no chance that small, unsupported entrepreneurs will turn into future Snapchats or Facebooks, as this repeal only preserves the monopoly that the handful of tech giants now enjoys along with the powers of a few ISPs. Under the old policy, any blocking or slowing of websites would directly run afoul of the rules, inviting immediate enforcement.

Some small-business owners are anxious, too, that industry giants could pay to get an edge and leave them on an unfair playing field.

"The United States has a specialized telecom agency with the expertise and technical capability to protect net neutrality and ensure an open internet", FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny had said. "For example, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to police internet service providers for anticompetitive acts and unfair or deceptive practices", Pai wrote.

As of Monday morning, net neutrality no longer exists.

A new set of rules at the Federal Communications Commission went into effect Monday, ending consumer protections that assure equal legal broadband access that doesn't slow or block certain sources. Under the new guidelines, ISPs can block, throttle, or prioritize internet content as much as they like, as long as they clearly disclose to customers that that's what they're doing. But what's more likely to occur are subtle changes to your Internet experience that you may or may not notice.

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Meanwhile, even before the end of the net-neutrality rules, several broadband providers, including AT&T and Verizon, were experimenting with so-called zero-rating programs.

As Michael Cheah, general counsel at video site Vimeo, previously told CNNMoney: the point of the rules was "allowing consumers to pick the winners and losers and not [having] the cable companies make those decisions for them".

For instance, both the ISPs and the FCC have claimed that net neutrality has hurt investment. Net neutrality rules were created for two reasons.

Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service.

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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