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Net neutrality rules are now repealed: What it means

The net neutrality rules are no longer the law of the land.The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections ...

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 6:54 AM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 6:54 AM

The net neutrality rules are no longer the law of the land.

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

In a press release Monday, the FCC said the repeal does away with "unnecessary, heavy-handed regulations" and replaces them with "common-sense regulations that will promote investment and broadband deployment."

While the move was supported by the telecom industry, it has faced fierce resistance from others. State officials, members of Congress, technology companies and various advocacy groups are still pushing to save the rules through legislation and litigation.

Here's what it means and what's really at stake.

What exactly is net neutrality?

The net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 amid an outpouring of online support. The intention was to keep the internet open and fair.

Under the rules, internet service providers were required to treat all online content the same. They couldn't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites or apps, nor could they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

To take a classic example, this means Comcast couldn't just choose to slow down a service like Netflix to make its own streaming video service more competitive, nor could it try to squeeze Netflix to pay more money to be part of a so-called internet fast lane.

As Michael Cheah, general counsel at video site Vimeo, previously told CNNMoney: the point of the rules was "allowing consumers to pick the winners and losers and not [having] the cable companies make those decisions for them."

Why is net neutrality such a big deal?

If there's one thing that both sides can agree on, it's that the internet is increasingly central to our lives. Any change to how it's regulated is a hot button issue. (Remember the uproar over repealing internet privacy protections last year?)

"Everyone uses the internet and everyone uses these tech platforms," Michelle Connolly, a former FCC official who supports chairman Ajit Pai, previously told CNNMoney. "So issues that are coming up right now, people are seeing from a very personal perspective."

How will the internet providers be regulated now?

The FCC did away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC also eliminated a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content.

In the absence of a firm ban on these actions, providers will be required to publicly disclose any instance of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

Related: Trump administration sends mixed messages on big media

As part of this shift, oversight of internet protections will shift from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

"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 wrote in an op-ed column Monday.

But consumer advocacy groups have been less than optimistic.

"Not only is the FCC eliminating basic net neutrality rules, but it's joining forces with the FTC to say it will only act when a broadband provider is deceiving the public," Chris Lewis, VP at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit that focuses on the open internet, said in an earlier statement. "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it."

And how will repealing net neutrality affect me?

The concern among net neutrality advocates is that the repeal could give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered.

Internet providers could choose to prioritize their own content and services over those of rivals. Businesses like Netflix, with large audiences and bank accounts, will likely be able to adapt -- but smaller companies may struggle to strike deals with providers and pay up to have their content delivered faster.

"Those 'fast lanes' will put those who won't or cannot 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.

The repeal could also change how customers are billed for services, both for good and bad. T-Mobile, for example, was criticized by net neutrality supporters for effectively making it cheaper for customers to stream videos from Netflix and HBO, putting other video services at a disadvantage.

Without net neutrality, internet providers may pursue similar offers more aggressively. Initially, this might be viewed as a positive by consumers looking to save money on their streaming media.

Yet, some fear it's also possible internet providers will one day effectively charge customers more to access services like Netflix that are currently included as part of your monthly bill.

Not much is expected to change right away, however, as the possibility of legislation and litigation looms.

Is there a chance the repeal is, well, repealed?

The Senate passed a measure to preserve the net neutrality rules last month. On Thursday, with the official repeal date looming, dozens of senators sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to schedule a vote on the issue.

But the Republican-led House, and President Trump, are both thought to be unlikely to back the Senate's measure.

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to stop the net neutrality repeal. Several states, including New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and California, have gone so far as to push legislation to enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.

This local legislation could lead to a legal showdown, however. The FCC order that just took effect asserts authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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