[H]ardOCP: Net Neutrality Is Really, Officially Dead on Monday

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Yesterday marked the end of USA government rules regarding net neutrality, but the new policy faces legal challenges from individual states, some of which have also developed their own rules on the matter.

Pai says that by deregulating the internet service provider industry, there will now be "strong consumer protections" and that "entrepreneurs [will get] the information they need as they develop new products and services".

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines in December to repeal the rules, which were meant to prevent internet providers from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services.

ISPs can charge access fees (known as "paid prioritization") to content providers like Google, Facebook, and Netflix in order to send content to consumers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has little reason to celebrate as critics are closely monitoring ISPs and other internet companies to see if they pull any stunts and abuse the laws for corporate benefits.

Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn't likely to become law. The idea was that all Internet traffic should be treated equally by broadband providers.

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Several states are enacting their own rules, or are in the process of adopting net neutrality rules. If you're a fan of Netflix, for example, net neutrality holds that you should be able to watch its shows without running into impediments your ISP puts up that are created to push you toward a competing service, such as Hulu. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, governors in six states - New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont and Hawaii - have signed executive orders upholding net neutrality, and three - Washington, Vermont and OR - have enacted legislation that does so. And under the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform.

Net neutrality gave the FCC authority over internet providers, which now is being handed back to the Federal Trade Commission, Pai wrote in an article for CNET. For consumers at home, it's still unclear how and whether this will affect your internet speeds.

As of Monday morning, net neutrality no longer exists. "We were hopeful that that type of the light regulatory approach we're taking will lead to. better, faster, cheaper Internet access for consumers and more competition particularly". In reality, the ISPs' investments have continued to grow in the two years of post-net neutrality rules.

Two states, OR and Washington, have passed net neutrality laws and 29 states are considering legislation, which could lead to new legal battles over Internet laws. If companies like Comcast and AT&T can charge more for "internet packages" the same way they charge different prices for cable TV packages, Schaub said people who are already struggling to pay their bills may suffer.

"We may not see the broadband providers immediately change their practices on day one", said Matt Wood, a policy director at consumer advocacy group Free Press.