Net Neutrality Ends Tomorrow, FCC On Track To Remove Rules As Scheduled

The Republican-run Federal Communications Commission voted in December to repeal most of the Obama-era rules, which require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally.

Over the past six months, tech companies, small businesses, consumers and lawmakers have tried to prevent Monday's repeal from happening, but to no avail.

While the move was supported by the telecom industry, it has faced fierce resistance from others.

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

Zero-rating programs weren't specifically barred under the now-defunct net neutrality protections.


Consumers won't notice changes any time soon, as the new rules will take a while to take effect.

Providers have said they won't block or throttle legal websites, but have left open the potential for charging more for transport of some data.WATCH: What is net neutrality?

Why is net neutrality such a big deal? Under the new policy, a violation might occur when regulators find out that an Internet provider has been blocking websites without saying so.

Enacted in 2015, the rules sought to stop providers giving preferential treatment to sites and services that paid them to accelerate their data. The FCC also eliminated a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

"But it has sparked an unprecedented backlash from across the political spectrum, and internet users are coming out of the woodwork to fight tooth and nail in Congress, in the courts, and at the local and state level", she continued. FCC chairman Ajit Pai joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why he thinks the rollback is "tremendously positive" for consumers.


Pai claimed in a CNET op-ed that the repeal preserves the Internet as "an open platform where you are free to go where you want" and that it "will protect consumers and promote better, faster Internet access and more competition". Paid prioritization can lead to price hikes for internet access, content providers can raise subscription rates or monthly fees for customers in order to offset the cost of access fees.

Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn't likely to become law.

For more from Portney, see the video player above. But unlike with the issues of blocking or slowing access to internet services, they've been much less definitive on fast lanes. Initially, this might be viewed as a positive by consumers looking to save money on their streaming media.

Pai calls the FTC the "nation's premier consumer protection agency".

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


Meanwhile, even before the end of the net-neutrality rules, several broadband providers, including AT&T and Verizon, were experimenting with so-called zero-rating programs. Senate Democrats forced a vote to restore net neutrality through the Congressional Review Act in May. If the House votes on and passes the bill before the end of this session, the measure would be sent to President Trump. In other words, net neutrality is dead, folks. In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations.

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