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Day 1: Net Neutrality Gone

In a monumental vote on February 26, 2015, the FCC passed the Open Internet Order which in effect, reclassified broadband as a common carrier under "Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996."

However, just a couple of years later, December 2017 to be exact, the Obama-Era regulation was rolled back. Opponents of the regulation feel the regulation was unnecessary because broadband service providers have no plans to block content or degrade network performance. In an interview with Federal Communications Commission Chairmen Ajit Pai on "CBS This Morning",

it was reported that Comcast and AT&T had prior history in of doing just that (slowing down Internet speed) before "Net Neutrality" regulation was put in place. One might argue that because the Federal Trade Commission, which formally had jurisdiction over Internet service providers prior to 2015, didn't adequately protect consumers from "bad-actors" consistently and transparently, they can't take on the responsibility alone, especially with lobbyist lurking the halls of Congress.

Chairmen Pai pushed back by saying "consumers will be protected under the commission's new "Restoring Internet Freedom" rule which goes into effect today. The new legislation replaces "net neutrality" rules introduced by the Obama administration that aimed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content, apps and traffic equally." He went on to say that this "light-touch" approach would be beneficial for the consumer. Pai claimed that Net-Neutrality regulations "depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation," but those claims have yet to be proven out.

So, what exactly does the "Restoring Internet Freedom" do and what does it mean for the consumer? According to the FCC website, it talks about replacing the "heavy-handed regulations" of old and ushering in a new framework that will "increase transparency" because of these "common-sense" rules. Now that the FTC is again responsible for the consumer's protection, it is unclear to me how they will police Internet Service Providers business practices. Although Chairmen Pai says he agrees with the concept of a "free and open" internet, he doesn't feel that "regulating the service like phone networks is the best way to achieve that goal."

It must be noted that "Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc have all pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire" today.

Sources: CBS News "CBS This Morning"

Reuters News

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