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FCC's net neutrality rules are officially repealed. Here's what that really means

13 June 2018

"The end of the 2015 net neutrality rules and the legal authority on which they are based will allow companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to take control of consumers' Internet experience and favor or disfavor websites, programming services and applications at will", said Gigi Sohn, a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

In a press release Monday, the FCC said the repeal does away with "unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations" and replaces them with "common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment". But other tech companies and many content providers support a neutral internet. ISPs will be able to charge us more to access sites we now visit for free, cap how much data we're allowed to use, redirect us from sites we are trying to use to sites they want us to use instead (like Bing instead of Google), and block us from being able to access apps, products, and information offered by their competitors or other companies they don't like.

The FCC changes were passed last December, shepherded by Trump-appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who says the new lighter-touch rules are more market-friendly than the "utility-style regulation" in the Obama-era.

Watch NOVA's recent video on how today's repeal of net neutrality may hurt-or help-everything from climate science to cybersecurity to medical research.

Net neutrality looks set to live on in piecemeal form as some U.S. states are enacting legislation that will require telecoms companies operating in their territories to abide by similar laws.

The new order permits ISPs to throttle, block, or be paid to prioritize certain sites or content, as long as they disclose that they are doing so. A third rule banned the practice of paid prioritization, or the offering of the Internet "fast lanes". Legislation in other states, like California and NY, is still proceeding and likely to be as strict as Washington's. But the push is unlikely to succeed: while a vote in the Senate has put pressure on the House, the larger Republican majority in House is likely to keep things from going any further.

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In May, a bill was approved in the Senate to save net neutrality rules.

Supporters of net neutrality are pushing state lawmakers to fight the repeal, but Mayer says this cannot be done at the state level.

Under net neutrality, Internet providers had to treat all users equally.

Today marks the official first day of a Net Neutrality-free America.

Zero-rating programs weren't specifically barred under the now-defunct net neutrality protections.

One of the biggest fears surrounding the end of net neutrality is the potential emergence of internet 'bundles, ' comparable to cable bundles where you pay a certain amount to receive a specific number of popular TV channels - just with popular websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. instead.

FCC's net neutrality rules are officially repealed. Here's what that really means