net neutrality


'net neutrality' Articles

Net Neutrality Rules Officially End Today as Democrats 'Less Than 50 Votes' From Advancing Petition in the House

Net neutrality regulations officially expired in the United States earlier this morning, making today the first day of a post-net neutrality internet (via The New York Times). The expiration of the laws comes six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of repealing net neutrality, a vote that has since faced intense backlash including multi-state lawsuits and a recent move by Democrats to block the repeal. Although supporters and opponents of net neutrality greatly disagree on how the internet will look following the repeal, without the rules internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T now have the legal ability to throttle any traffic on their networks, and block access to sites and services completely, as long as they inform their customers of their actions. In essence, many have theorized that this could lead to ISPs bundling "packages" of internet sites and selling them like cable companies, as well as putting high-paying customers in "fast lanes" and everyone else in "slow lanes." Of course, all of these changes won't happen at once, and some states won't see any affect from the disappearance of net neutrality today due to local legislation. Washington state governor Jay Inslee signed a law in March that effectively reinstated the federal net neutrality rules for its residents, and other state governors in Montana and New York are said to have used executive orders "to force net neutrality." A total of 29 state legislatures had introduced bills to ensure net neutrality as of May, but many failed or are still pending

U.S. Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality, Now Expected to Face Major Hurdle in House

The United States Senate today voted to repeal the Federal Communication Commission's "Restoring Internet Freedom" order, which was enacted last December and reverses Obama-era Net Neutrality rules. Today's decision ended with a vote of 52-47 in favor of restoring Net Neutrality protections, with supporters totaling all 47 Democratic Senators, two independents, and three Republican Senators. The Senate Democrats used the Congressional Review Act to call for the vote to halt Net Neutrality's repeal. The law gives Congress 60 days to review and potentially reverse regulations passed by a federal agency, in this case the FCC. Under the act, the decision will now move onto the House of Representatives, where it's expected to not make it past the Republican-majority House. If the measure ultimately makes it to President Trump's desk, it's likewise believed that he wouldn't back the decision to go against a regulation created by his own FCC chairman Ajit Pai. Net Neutrality has been an increasingly heated debate since momentum gathered in the Republican-controlled FCC last fall, predicting the repeal of the rules that eventually came in December. If the new efforts fail, Net Neutrality rules will officially end in the U.S. in less than a month, on June 11, 2018. The reversal of Net Neutrality protections classifies internet service providers as "information service" providers, as they were prior to the advent of Net Neutrality in 2015. While supporters of the rollback describe the move as a return to a less-regulated internet, opponents fear that ISPs will be able

FCC Sets End Date for Net Neutrality on June 11 as Democrats Lead Vote to Block Repeal

The Federal Communications Commission gave a notice today that states Net Neutrality rules will officially end in the United States on June 11, 2018 (via Reuters). The FCC voted 3-2 in favor of repealing the rules last December, a repeal that was then made official with an entry into the Federal Register in February. Multi-state lawsuits soon popped up in efforts to block the rollback of Net Neutrality, and now more than a dozen Democratic senators have moved to force a vote on a proposal that would reinstate Net Neutrality protections. According to CNN, the vote is expected to pass the Senate, but will face an "uphill battle" in the Republican-majority House of Representatives, and "would likely be vetoed" by President Trump if it got that far. Still, Democratic senator Ed Markey cited building momentum for the proposal, with the Senate's vote expected to happen in the middle of next week. "Our intent is to have it pass in the Senate, the momentum is building," he said. "We expect there to be some considerable momentum coming out of the Senate and 160 will quickly grow towards the 218 that we need to have a vote over there as well." "When we pass this in the Senate, when we pass it in the House of Representatives, when it's clear the electorate is at 86% favorable for this issue, that we would have a political firestorm throughout this country if President Trump announced that he was going to veto that said protections, replacing it with exactly nothing," he said. The repeal of Net Neutrality rules will allow internet service providers to block or slow down

Washington Becomes First State to Pass Its Own Net Neutrality Law in Defiance of FCC

Washington this week became the first state to pass a new law -- House Bill 2282 -- that restores and protects certain net neutrality rules, after the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of repealing net neutrality nationwide late last year. Washington state's new rules were signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee yesterday, and prevent internet service providers from blocking and slowing down content online (via The New York Times). Many multi-state lawsuits began cropping up following the net neutrality vote in December, but this marks the first time that a state has directly gone against the FCC and enacted its own regulations on how ISPs are regulated within the state. Now, the Washington state law will go into effect starting June 6, 2018, barring ISPs from blocking websites, throttling speeds, or charging its customers more for faster speeds on select sites "in a way that benefits the broadband company and partner websites." Today we make history: Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet with our own #NetNeutrality law. The open internet lives on for Washingtonians. pic.twitter.com/3wsmAycWLN— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 6, 2018 These actions are now technically legal under the repeal of net neutrality by the FCC, made official by its entry into the Federal Register in February and becoming nationwide law itself April 23, 2018. The law signed by Inslee is said to "immediately" put back into place consumer protections provided by net neutrality rules, and was "passed with broad bipartisan

Net Neutrality Repeal Made Official With Entry Into Federal Register

It's been two months since the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of repealing Net Neutrality rules that were put in place by the United States government in 2015. That decision has been made official today by being entered into the Federal Register, and will become law starting April 23, 2018. Following the vote, lawsuits began to appear in efforts to block the rollback of Net Neutrality, with one multi-state lawsuit being led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 22 other Attorneys General. As pointed out by TechCrunch, now that the Restoring Internet Freedom order "legally exists," every opponent in the U.S., "from citizens to attorney generals to governors and senators," will be able to begin their own lawsuits over the decision. Prior to today, many actions contemplated and indeed announced by opponents of the rule were technically not possible, since the rule was technically not yet in force. A state can’t, for example, argue that its own laws are infringed upon by a rule until that rule legally exists. Today is the moment that the net neutrality repeal legally exists, and you’re going to see a lot — a lot — of actions taken against it, all over the country. The decision was heavily debated leading up to the vote in December, with proponents arguing the internet will now go back to a "light-touch regulatory scheme" it faced prior to 2015 and the advent of Net Neutrality. Opponents of the repeal vocalized fear that internet service providers will now be able to slow down internet speeds -- or block access completely -- to

AT&T Pledges Commitment to Open Internet Following FCC Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson shared an open letter today on the topic of Net Neutrality, pledging that the company is "committed to an open internet" following the Federal Communications Commission's vote last month to repeal Net Neutrality. In the letter, Stephenson said that AT&T does not block websites, censor online content, or throttle, discriminate, and degrade network performance based on a website's contents. According to Stephenson, AT&T has committed to the support of an open internet "for over 10 years," and will continue to do so. Furthermore, he urged Congress to pen new laws to govern the internet and protect customers, putting an end to the ongoing change in rules and regulations placed on the internet. Stephenson called this the "Internet Bill of Rights." But the commitment of one company is not enough. Congressional action is needed to establish an “Internet Bill of Rights” that applies to all internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all internet users. Legislation would not only ensure consumers’ rights are protected, but it would provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications. In the very near future, technological advances like self-driving cars, remote surgery and augmented reality will demand even greater performance from the internet. Without predictable rules for how the internet works, it will be difficult to meet the demands of these new technology advances. Under the repeal of Net Neutrality,

New York Attorney General Leads Filing of Multi-State Lawsuit to Block Rollback of Net Neutrality

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman this afternoon announced that he and 22 other Attorneys General have teamed up to file a lawsuit aiming to stop the Federal Communications Commission's planned rollback of net neutrality. The multi-state lawsuit [PDF] asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the FCC's repeal order, calling it arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion that violates federal law. "An open internet - and the free exchange of ideas it allows - is critical to our democratic process," Schneiderman said in a statement on his website. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers - allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online. This would be a disaster for New York consumers and businesses, and for everyone who cares about a free and open internet." The FCC has not filed its new rules with the Federal Register, so the repeal is not yet final, but the lawsuit has been filed out of "an abundance of caution" and to "preserve the right to be included in the judicial lottery procedure." It's essentially the states' way of establishing the first step towards a full challenge of the FCC's decision. #BREAKING: I’m leading 22 AGs and filing suit today to stop the @FCC’s illegal rollback of #netneutrality. We can’t stand by and watch one of the greatest tools for democracy ever created be turned into a private playground for the rich and powerful. https://t.co/BUXSVVVMcs pic.twitter.com/xDTbE1uIrM— Eric Schneiderman

FCC Has Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission today voted to repeal Net Neutrality rules put in place by the United States government back in 2015 under the Obama administration (via Recode). Instead of classifying internet service providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, the FCC has voted 3-2 in favor of rolling back to reclassifying ISPs as "information service" providers, as they were between February 1996 and February 2015. Now, companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon will be allowed to block or slow down a user's access to certain websites, as well as potentially charge access to sites and services. The vote passed in favor under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, along with the two other Republican commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Brendan Carr. Outvoted were Democrat commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. The order now adopted by the FCC today will eliminate a "utility-style regulation" of ISPs, and also removes any requirement for these companies to refrain from blocking or throttling web traffic. One requirement remaining is that telecom companies will be forced to tell customers if and when they prioritize their content over competitors, and if they don't they could face penalties from the Federal Trade Commission. Apple and many other large technology companies previously urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. Those in favor of keeping ISPs classified under Title II argued that the FCC rolling back the internet's classification as a public utility will hurt net neutrality, as it could eventually divide

FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in Vote Next Month

FCC chairman Ajit Pai today announced that his controversial Restoring Internet Freedom order is headed to vote on December 14. The order, proposed in May, would roll back the Barack Obama administration's classification of internet service providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. As common carriers, internet providers are required to act as neutral gateways to the internet. In other words, companies like Comcast are not allowed to speed up or slow down content passing through their networks. If the order passes, ISPs will be reclassified as "information service" providers, as they were between February 1996 and February 2015.For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.Apple and dozens of other large technology companies urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. The FCC also received a record-breaking 22 million comments from the public during a feedback period that ended in August. Those against the order believe that the FCC rolling back the internet's classification as a public utility will hurt net neutrality, as it could eventually divide internet users into so-called "fast lanes" and "slow lanes." In a letter submitted to the FCC in August, Apple warned that paid fast lanes could result in an "internet with

Apple Urges FCC Not to Roll Back Ban on Internet 'Fast Lanes' in Push for Net Neutrality

In a letter submitted during the Restoring Internet Freedom comment period, Apple has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission not to roll back regulations that prevent "paid fast lanes" on the internet. Image via Change.org. Apple logo added by MacRumors. Broadband providers should not create paid fast lanes on the internet. Lifting the current ban on paid prioritization arrangements could allow broadband providers to favor the transmission of one provider's content or services (or the broadband provider’s own online content or services) over other online content, fundamentally altering the internet as we know it today—to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.Apple warns that paid fast lanes could result in an "internet with distorted competition" based on an online provider's ability or willingness to pay, which in turn could put some customers in the "slow lane."Consumers today seek out the content and services they desire based upon numerous factors, including quality, innovation, ease of use, and privacy considerations. Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers' ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service. Moreover, it could create artificial barriers to entry for new online services, making it harder for tomorrow’s

U.S. Appeals Court Rules in Favor of FCC Net Neutrality Rules

A U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld landmark federal rules preventing internet service providers from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content (via Reuters). The backing for the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules came in a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The outcome reaffirms the law enforced last year that says ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally. The rules prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to faster internet lanes for specific internet services, which the FCC claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the internet. The court also rejected legal arguments from telecommunications industry groups that the rules should not apply to mobile phone web use or that they violated the constitutional free-speech rights of internet service providers. The court's decision in favor of the FCC means that it too considered the internet to be a public utility, and therefore subject to government regulations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the ruling "a victory for the open, fair, and free internet as we know it today," and one that barred service providers from becoming "paid gatekeepers". The outcome will also be seen as a personal victory for President Barack Obama, who is a strong advocate of net neutrality rules, although ISPs have already said they plan to appeal to either the full appellate court or the Supreme Court over the ruling. Telecoms industry groups have also said they will

FCC Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality Rules, Classifies Broadband Service as a Utility

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor by a 3-to-2 decision to enforce net neutrality rules that it claims will help protect freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet, reports Ars Technica. The FCC ruling classifies broadband service as a utility and prevents Internet providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering prioritized service through so-called Internet "fast lanes" for payment."The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "Think about it. The Internet has replaced the functions of the telephone and the post office. The Internet has redefined commerce, and as the outpouring from four million Americans has demonstrated, the Internet is the ultimate vehicle for free expression. The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules."The ruling will reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service, and Internet providers will be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act. The decision was heavily contested by Internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, which could sue the FCC in an attempt to reverse the new rules. FCC officials believe that Type II reclassification will give them more legal authority to prevent net neutrality rules from being overturned. While the new requirements are intended to ensure that the Internet remains fast, fair and open, the FCC did not follow through

FCC to Propose Regulating Internet Service as a Utility for Stronger Net Neutrality Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler plans to submit a proposal that would allow the agency to regulate Internet service much like a public utility, reports The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The move would let the FCC introduce strong rules that could prevent Internet providers from creating "fast lanes" letting certain sites pay for faster speeds.It is expected that the proposal will reclassify high-speed Internet service as a telecommunications service, instead of an information service, under Title II of the Communications Act, according to industry analysts, lobbyists and former F.C.C. staff members.Net neutrality, which is the principle that all data on the Internet should be treated equally, has been a major topic of discussion in recent months as the FCC in 2014 approved commercially reasonable "Open Internet" net neutrality rules that could potentially allow companies to pay for better service. In November, President Obama urged the FCC to instead implement strong rules to protect net neutrality, following a four tenet path that would prevent ISPs from blocking or throttling Internet sites. Obama's proposal also called for the prevention of paid prioritization, keeping companies from shelling out money for faster speeds, and it suggested greater transparency between ISPs and their customers. More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here's a big reason we've seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have

BlackBerry CEO Says U.S. Government Should Force Apple to Expand iMessage to Other Platforms

BlackBerry CEO John Chen yesterday published a blog post adaptation of a letter in which he presses U.S. government officials to support not only net neutrality but also "application/content neutrality". In Chen's view, all apps and content should be available on all platforms, and he points specifically to Apple's iMessage and Netflix's streaming services as examples of discrimination against BlackBerry. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Chen believes BlackBerry is a leader for content and application neutrality and pushes U.S. government officials to require these same neutral practices from the Canadian company's competitors. "Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet," writes Chen. Chen's comments have unsurprisingly been met with ridicule by developers who don't wish to be forced to create apps for platforms where they do not expect worthwhile returns, and many observers have suggested BlackBerry should focus its efforts on creating a compelling ecosystem that would attract users and apps organically. Apple has historically been quiet on broader issues of net neutrality. The Cupertino company was noticeably absent from a list of more than 100 technology