Net Neutrality Rules Officially Expire Today
American consumers are no longer protected by the net neutrality regulations put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration. The rules were voted down by the Republican-led FCC in December 2017 and effectively evaporate today. The outgoing regulations classified broadband under Title II and created bright-line rules governing how internet traffic was to be treated. For example, internet providers were not allowed to throttle or block services, or offer paid fast lanes. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai maintains that these rules were overly burdensome to businesses and reduced investment in the space. Moving forward, broadband is once again classified as a service, not a utility, and will not be managed by such strict rules. Instead, Pai expects the industry to be open about policies and govern itself. Though the rules are officially no more, many are fighting to keep net neutrality alive. The FCC is under legal assault from public interest groups, the attorneys general from more than 20 states, as well as groups of businesses. A handful of states have introduced their own legislation that would re-enable net neutrality at a state level, in effect forcing broadband providers to adhere to rules if they wish to do business with state and local governments. Senate Democrats forced a vote in favor of keeping net neutrality in place, but the issue was not take up by the Republican Congress nor President Trump. It's not yet clear what impact these legal battles will have or whether they'll be able to restore net neutrality in some form. Net neutrality's story is not over yet.
May 16, 2018
Democrats in the Senate forced a vote on net neutrality today and walked away victorious. Members of the Senate voted 52-47 to retain the net neutrality regulations put in place by the Obama administration that were later nixed by the FCC.
Oct 26, 2018
California today said it has agreed not to enforce its own net neutrality law until a final decision is reached concerning the FCC's scrapping of Obama-era regulations. In December 2017, the FCC voted to get rid of the previous administration's net neutrality rules, which classified broadband as a utility under Title II and set bright line rules regarding internet traffic.
May 18, 2017
The FCC today voted down party lines to begin the process of undoing the Title II designation that governs net neutrality. "The FCC is proposing to return to a regulatory framework that preserved a free and open internet for almost 20 years," said the agency on its Twitter feed.
Jan 4, 2018
The FCC today released the text of its plan to reverse Obama-era net neutrality regulations. The FCC contends that the rules stifled innovation and investment in wired and wireless broadband.