Net neutrality rules are now dead. Here’s what that means for you, and what happens next


Ajit Pai

The FCC’s net neutrality rules officially died on Monday, giving broadband providers the latitude to block or slow access to particular internet services, or to create so-called fast lanes to them.
The providers say they don’t plan to block or slow access to internet sites, but they’ve indicated they do want to create fast lanes.
But experts expect them to move cautiously, because they’re under scrutiny and the net neutrality rules were widely popular.

The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of its net neutrality rules officially takes effect Monday, but you shouldn’t expect your internet experience to change immediately.

Passed by the Republican-led FCC in December, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order ends the agency’s prohibitions against internet service providers blocking, slowing down, or providing preferential treatment to particular internet sites and services. Instead, the agency will only require providers to publicly disclose how they treat internet traffic, and will leave it up to the Federal Trade Commission to make sure they are doing what they said and aren’t being anticompetitive.

Here’s how the the order may — or may not — affect you.

Will I still be able to access Netflix and other online services?

Generally, yes. The major broadband providers — AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon — have all said they won’t block access to particular internet sites or services, even those that compete against their own offerings.

Will my access to Netflix or other sites slow down?

In general, no. The big broadband providers have all promised that they won’t slow customers’ access to particular sites or services.

However, it’s possible that access could slow anyway. 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. The slowdown was only fixed after Netflix agreed to pay for the upgrades.

While the now-defunct net neutrality rules didn’t specifically address interchange disputes, they did give the FCC broad latitude to oversee the “general conduct” of broadband providers to determine if the companies were being anticompetitive or interfering with customers’ ability to access internet sites and services. Thanks to the repeal, the FCC no longer has that authority.

What’s more, internet advocates have long been concerned that if broadband providers are able to create so-called fast lanes to particular sites and services, they will in effect slow down traffic to all other locations on the internet.

Will I have to pay more to reach certain sites or services?

For now, no. But that could change in the future.

The major broadband operators have said they don’t plan to create internet fast lanes. But unlike with the issues of blocking or slowing access to internet services, they’ve been much less definitive on fast lanes. In fact, some have made clear they want to have the freedom to prioritize certain kinds of traffic over others.

The broadband providers typically frame this issue as wanting to be able to give special treatment to certain applications, where having extremely low lag times could mean the …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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