US net neutrality rules expire, court battle looms

The repeal takes effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo them.

WASHINGTON-Democrats and internet activists marked the rollback of internet neutrality rules on Monday by pushing House lawmakers to restore the regulations, hoping to score both political and policy gains. ISPs would only be punished by the FCC if they fail to disclose what the commission used to consider net neutrality violations. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue. But unlike with the issues of blocking or slowing access to internet services, they've been much less definitive on fast lanes.

Throttling: Service providers could not slow the transmission of data because of the nature of the content, as long as it was legal.

Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections. Some consumers fear a slower Internet and higher costs for broadband delivery.

ISPs also can't engage in prioritizing traffic for money. Here's what we can expect from tomorrow's internet.

That view is being challenged in the deferral court, however, which is due to hear an argument from net neutrality advocates - backed by the attorney generals of about as many states as Pai visited - that he acted arbitrarily in overturning Obama-era rules. ISPs will be under the scanner of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that will be able to investigate if internet providers engage in anti-competitive behavior. In November, Farhad Manjoo argued in his New York Times column that the internet had already been dying a slow death and that the repeal of net neutrality rules would only hasten its demise.

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Those last two should stick out to you, as they have been key points in the debates surrounding net neutrality rules.

Pai attempted to bolster the FCC's decision through claims that the new regulations introduces stronger transparency laws and hence more protection for the consumer.

Without Net Neutrality, internet providers can pick and choose which sites they grant access to and at which speeds, opening the door to censorship.

What's the logic behind the new rules, exactly? 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.

The revised rules were a win for ISPs, whose practices faced significant government oversight and FCC investigations under the 2015 order. "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it". 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.

Yet, some fear it's also possible internet providers will one day effectively charge customers more to access services like Netflix that are now included as part of your monthly bill. Meanwhile, at least 29 states have pending legislation that would require ISPs to uphold net neutrality rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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