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Local business owner fears effects of net neutrality repeal

Local business owner fears effects of net neutrality repeal

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai finally delivered what telecoms have been demanding for years: an end to regulations that treat them as a utility.

Net Neutrality was implemented during the Obama administration in 2015, prohibiting internet providers from charging more for specific online content or from giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

"It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC's 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all", they said in a letter Thursday.

Customers of streaming services like Netflix could see their subscription fees rise if the company chooses to pay more.

The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them. Led by its then-Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, the FCC approved rules that banned the blocking and slowing of Web content by Internet providers.

The chairman hasn't talked about any of those incidents where the ISPs discriminated against content by blocking websites or apps that could be their competitors or how their decision to offer paid and fast lanes to big companies could kill the innovation that is being heralded as the victor of this repeal.

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".

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"At the FCC, we have a transparency rule where every company in the USA has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company who engages in any anti-competitive conducts", Pai said.

The Obama-era federal regulations known as net neutrality are done - at least for now. That means there is nothing legally stopping a broadband provider from selling faster service at a premium or slowing some content.

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.

Probably not. You won't even see the direct effects of this repeal immediately. 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.

This change has raised fears that companies like Comcast would suddenly start slowing down services like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, etc.

Washington became the first state to set up their own net neutrality requirements in March when Governor Jay Inslee signed a measure with bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, legal battles against the FCC rollback of net neutrality are still underway.