What the end of ‘net neutrality’ means for your internet use

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Net neutrality is now a thing of the past. And rightly so. The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy.

There are a few states that are battling the repeal of net neutrality within their own governments, both NY and Washington have already passed legislation that stops or discourages internet providers from favoring content. California is now in the process of passing a similar law, which will give users stricter protections that those under the Obama Era net neutrality rules. Starting today, ISPs and wireless carriers are no longer bound by the restrictions that were previously in place.

The net neutrality rules said companies had to treat all data equally.

That means internet providers can speed up, slow down or block websites without violating federal regulations. This, according to Pai, "will allow consumers to make an informed decision about which Internet service provider is best for them". Those protections are transparency rules that require ISPs to publicly disclose any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.

Today marks the official first day of a Net Neutrality-free America. For example, an ISP could charge a base fee for basic internet, and $5 extra for a social media package that includes Facebook and Twitter, or a $10 entertainment package that bundles in streaming music as well.

Now that the repeal is in effect, ISPs "have the green light to begin degrading our access to the internet", said former FCC commissioner and Common Cause special adviser Michael Copps.

The flip side is there are many areas where broadband availability is limited to one or two options, giving consumers little or no choice in the matter.

A group representing major cable companies and TV networks said Monday that "despite a new round of outlandish claims and doomsday predictions from groups dedicated to stoking political controversy, consumers will be able to see for themselves that their internet service will keep working as always has and will keep getting better". Those are lousy options, obviously. Per the net neutrality order, states can not enact any legislation that attempts to circumvent the repeal. Pai's children even faced harassment over the repeal.

"Our approach includes strong consumer protections", Pai wrote in his CNET op-ed.

He added that the Federal Trade Commission will work to protect consumers. "This was a loss for consumers and a mistake we have reversed". Opponents say this gives Internet providers the power to block competitors and new technologies.