Your internet use could change as 'net neutrality' ends

Mark Zuckerberg chief executive officer of Facebook holds a press conference at their headquarters

Obama-era regulations known as net neutrality officially end Monday.

Monday marks the official end of the federal government's net neutrality rules, the Obama-era regulations that said Internet providers can't block or slow down websites, or prioritize their own content over others.

Net neutrality was repealed previous year under an order called the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order. If you're a fan of Netflix, for example, net neutrality holds that you should be able to watch its shows without running into impediments your ISP puts up that are created to push you toward a competing service, such as Hulu.

There's also no mention in Pai's op-ed about how the two largest ISPs in the nation - Comcast and Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner Cable) - score incredibly low in both customer service and value from Consumer Reports. "The consumer is going to be protected and we preserve the incentive for companies to build out better, faster, and cheaper internet access".

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The rules survived a court challenge after being adopted by Democrats at the FCC in 2015, but were gutted a December vote led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who says reduced regulation will bring more investment. Those protections are transparency rules that require ISPs to publicly disclose any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. After an intense marketing and lobbying campaign, internet companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast convinced the FCC to allow them to slow or restrict access to certain websites. The move is a major milestone in the attack on a free and open internet and on freedom of expression in the United States. The more realistic goal of the act is to put pressure on Republicans ahead of the 2020 elections - only changes in leadership are likely to have an effect on U.S.net neutrality rules. Some on the political right, championed by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, argue that giving companies this kind of freedom will boost business.

Now, they are free of a requirement to treat all web traffic equally and have only to be transparent about how they manage their networks, with any breaches of promises or uncompetitive behavior being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission rather than the telecom-focused FCC.

"The Senate has voted to overturn the FCC order that killed off net neutrality", Doyle said. AT&T has had a contract with Netflix since 2014, but they don't have a contract with Hulu.

MSU student Ryan Kiggans said he's not only frustrated by the potential of paying to get more information, he's also upset by whom these decisions are made: namely the FCC. "But starting today they have the legal ability to do so at any time they choose".

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Big changes could be headed to the internet industry as net neutrality becomes a policy of the past.

Broadband providers "remain committed to the principles under which internet innovation has thrived", Mr. Spalter said.

But they could start charging extra for services not yet offered. Others, including the governors of Montana and NY, used executive orders to force net neutrality.

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