Net neutrality is no more. Here's what that means

  • Net neutrality is no more. Here's what that means

Net neutrality is no more. Here's what that means

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last week the rollback will ensure more investment by providers and will ensure "better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people".

Blocking: Internet service providers could not discriminate against any lawful content by blocking websites or apps. Want access to Facebook and Twitter?

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.

There are two main schools of thought as to how the end of net neutrality will affect everyday internet users.

Pai calls the FTC the "nation's premier consumer protection agency". Nor could we go back in time and undo the harm to consumers or to the competitive evolution of the marketplace. It's hard to say what specific changes you might experience; part of the whole point of undoing the net neutrality rules is that Internet providers will begin to experiment with all-new business models we haven't seen before.

"Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content", Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the commission who voted against the repeal, said in an emailed statement Monday.

The chairman hasn't talked about any of those incidents where the ISPs discriminated against content by blocking websites or apps that could be their competitors or how their decision to offer paid and fast lanes to big companies could kill the innovation that is being heralded as the victor of this repeal. And consumers latch on to this notion of "free unlimited", and if you look at the fine print, the carriers give with one hand and they take with the other. Earlier this decade, many consumers found their access to Netflix slowed amid a dispute between the streaming video provider and broadband companies over who would pay to upgrade the connections between their networks. Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some USA states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws. The industry is moving towards faster internet speeds like never before, while the internet remains open, without any of the kinds of paid priority, zero-rating or service bundling that plagues the cable industry.

Several internet providers made public pledges that they would not block or throttle sites once the rules were repealed. Before 2015 The FTC had control over regulating the internet and it was only for the three years that the FCC had control.

The impact was especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught. Meanwhile, web companies, 22 states and the District of Columbia are suing to overturn the December decision by the Republican-led U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Perhaps the repeal won't change the direction of the internet. Rather, any changes are likely to happen slowly, and companies will try to make sure that consumers are on board with the moves, experts say.