Activists Attempt Last Ditch Effort to Save Net Neutrality - Hit & Run

Irving Hamilton
June 12, 2018

Net neutrality rules were enacted to keep internet providers from blocking certain websites and changing the speed of access to some content.

Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the retraction of net neutrality rules was needed to remove needless and onerous regulations. Under Pai's model, the FCC has been gutted of most of its authority over broadband providers, ceding any remaining authority to an FTC legal experts repeatedly say lacks the ability to actually take any meaningful action. That order has now gone into effect, which means the net neutrality rules have been canceled.

On May 16, the U.S. Senate, where Republicans hold only a narrow majority, voted 52 to 47 to overturn the decision by the FCC - which is now composed of three Republicans and Rosenworcel. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane. The disclosures are essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card-the new FCC regime specifically allows ISPs to block, throttle, or prioritize content in exchange for payment as long as the ISPs disclose the fact that they're doing so.

The repeal effectively narrows what the federal government would consider a net neutrality violation.

Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections.

The concern among net neutrality advocates is that the repeal could give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered. Last month, the Senate passed a last-ditch effort to overturn the FCC's repeal, but it never progressed to a House vote and was officially repealed Monday. One specific fear is that smaller companies and startups will not have the same opportunities to grow if ISPs can pick and choose companies and services to favor in what is called "paid prioritization". The rules initally passed under President Obama, but the FCC under the Trump Administration discarded the rule in December.

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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.

"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", Sohn says.

In the wake of the FCC's repeal of its net neutrality rules, several states have adopted their own protections. 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. But if they start filing lawsuits, we'll know they're full of shit.

"Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition".

When fighting against the 2015 net neutrality rules, the ISPs said nearly in unison that they would prefer to leave net neutrality rules to Congress instead of the FCC.

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