The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines in December to repeal the rules, which were meant to prevent internet providers from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services. "But starting today they have the legal ability to do so at any time they choose". They're anxious the providers will charge consumers extra to reach particular sites and services in a speedy manner, either by directly billing them or by charging companies like Netflix, which could be expected to pass on the costs to their subscribers. How has Amazon's entry changed the grocery business?
"We may not see the broadband providers immediately change their practices on day one", said Matt Wood, a policy director at consumer advocacy group Free Press.
The battle isn't entirely over, though.
The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them.
The FCC said it had repealed the rules because they restrained broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from experimenting with new business models and investing in new technology. Most have service terms that specify they won't give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own. If companies like Comcast and AT&T can charge more for "internet packages" the same way they charge different prices for cable TV packages, Schaub said people who are already struggling to pay their bills may suffer.
Net neutrality has overwhelming public support, noted industry experts. Nothing is likely to change overnight - if nothing else, the public attention will keep telecoms companies in line for the next few months - but FCC chairman and dubious memer Ajit Pai has taken the opportunity to publish a dubious op-ed in CNET with a bunch more claims that don't add up. This is typically used by streaming audio and video services for mobile devices to provide a benefit to their subscribers by reducing cellular data use. Those programs allow consumers to access certain sites and services without the data to and from them applying to any monthly caps they may have. The rollback took effect officially on Monday.
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"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", Gigi Sohn, a counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and a staunch supporter of net neutrality, told CNNMoney. Tech companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar concerns in regulatory filings.
In 2015, the FCC stripped the FTC - the nation's premier consumer protection agency - of its authority over internet service providers. The repeal will also let ISPs charge websites or online services for priority access to consumers.
Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service.
More than 20 states have sued the FCC to stop the repeal. 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.
"The big ISPs know that they're being watched - by Congress, by the courts and by their customers", she said.