Net neutrality rollback: FCC chairman Ajit Pai responds to critics


Net neutrality rules which prevented broadband providers from discriminating against certain websites have been officially rolled back in the United States, even as opposition groups fight to save the regulations.

The rules oblige Internet service providers, or ISPs, to enable access of all content and applications, regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

Several states are rushing to pass new net neutrality laws to replace the FCC rules.

The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections officially took effect on Monday, almost six months after the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to roll back the rules.

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Most agree that it's unlikely that internet users will see any big changes in the near future. There were some exceptions (emergency services, mostly), but for the most part, the rules made it illegal for ISPs to slow down (throttle) internet traffic based on content, so long as the data was legal. After control of the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed hands following the 2016 election, the agency's new chairman, Ajit Pai, started dismantling net neutrality regulations, arguing they were overly restrictive.

Companies willing to pay more of these fees are essentially given higher priority, which means you could see a rise in subscriptions rates or monthly fees from content providers to offset the costs of these fees. His order, touted as promoting investment and broadband deployment, loosens the FCC's regulation of ISPs, and instead gives the Federal Trade Commission jurisdiction to enforce violations. Per the net neutrality order, states can not enact any legislation that attempts to circumvent the repeal. Starting Monday, the FTC will once again be able to protect Americans consistently across the internet economy, and the FCC will work hand-in-hand with our partners at the FTC to do just that.

Pai, who is a former attorney for Verizon, doubled down on his stance that repealing net neutrality rules was the right call.

"The people really want a free and open internet", Hansen said.

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"We did it to have a free and open internet", Hansen said.

Organizations that fought to preserve net neutrality say the battle isn't over. OR has a net neutrality law that will go into effect later this year.

Any changes are likely to happen slowly, as companies assess how much consumers will tolerate. What's more, five Democratic governors have issued executive orders barring their states from doing business with a broadband firm that violates the principals of net neutrality. The US Congress also plans to debate a motion to overturn the FCC decision. Over 20 state attorneys have filed lawsuits to block the repeal.

Critics of net neutrality, including the Trump administration, say such rules impeded companies' ability to adapt to a quickly evolving internet.

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