Net Neutrality Is Alive and Well in Washington State

Net neutrality ends this Monday June 11th motion to keep it alive could die in the House

Net neutrality ends this Monday June 11th motion to keep it alive could die in the House

The concern among net neutrality advocates is that the repeal could give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered.

Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and AT&T Inc (T.N) have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the rules expire.

As already noted, today's the day that the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules are officially eliminated.

Last month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the retraction of net neutrality rules was needed to remove needless and onerous regulations.

"The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy", Fight for the Future Deputy Director Evan Greer said in a statement. "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". He says that net neutrality, passed in 2015, "depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation".

Yet, some fear it's also possible internet providers will one day effectively charge customers more to access services like Netflix that are now included as part of your monthly bill.

A collection of advocacy groups has called for "mass online actions" on June 11 to once again call attention to the issue and pressure Congress to act.

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However, in the op-ed Pai does not defend against any of the common arguments for Net Neutrality. 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. Pai and his colleagues will have to defend their decision before judges likely to be skeptical of the FCC's rationale for destroying open-internet protections and putting nothing else in their place. This is how the term "net neutrality" was coined - the idea was that every bit is the same and that ISPs can't charge differentiated prices based on different types of services. Oregon, Vermont and Washington state have adopted open-Internet laws, while governors in an additional six states have sought to address the matter through executive orders.

The Senate voted 52-47 last month to overturn the FCC's plan, but the House, which is doesn't intend to take up the issue-making the Senate's move largely symbolic. But what's more likely to occur are subtle changes to your Internet experience that you may or may not notice.

More than 20 states have sued the FCC to stop the repeal.

The fees would be paid by the video services, such as Hulu, and could be passed along to consumers in higher subscription rates.

AT&T declined to comment on net neutrality or the lawsuit.

"I don't think anything gets better for consumers", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-person commission. He has spent more than eight years covering the ways that tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google navigate the corridors of government - and the regulations that sometimes result.

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