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FCC order revoking net neutrality takes effect today, but repeal still isn't official

FCC order revoking net neutrality takes effect today, but repeal still isn't official
Depending on where you stand on net neutrality, today is either a great day, or a day that will live in infamy. Back in December, the Trump-era FCC voted to repeal the rules that prevented your wireless provider and ISP to give preferential treatment to some content over others. In theory, without net neutrality protection, a carrier could have a video or audio streamer pay it a fee to guarantee that it will stream its content over the operator's fastest pipeline. Other streamers who refuse to pay for this could have its content slowed down to a crawl. Think of the OG Apple iPhone on EDGE.

Or imagine a carrier that has deep political ties. It could slow down or even block any content that criticizes the opposition, while allowing for high-speed delivery of content that is supportive of its political philosophy.

While it is net neutrality that guarantees that all content streamed over the internet be treated the same, the act to repeal it is misleadingly called Restoring Internet Freedom Order. While the act passed with an effective date of April 23rd, non-profit organization Electronic Frontier Foundation discovered that only a few minor changes take place today. Before net neutrality ends, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must approve the FCC order. So far, there has been no approval which means that right now, all internet content must be treated the same.

Once OMB finally gets around to signing off on the FCC's party line vote, we will see a notice of this published in the Federal Register, which is sort of like the diary of the federal government. But it also would start a waiting period, which means that it could be as late as June before net neutrality takes its last gasp of breath. Once that happens, content providers will no longer have the protection that prevented the wireless industry from turning into a "pay to play" business. This is when you might discover that the carrier you pay every month for wireless service, really might put their own interests ahead of yours.

In the meantime, 23 state attorneys general are filing suits as are major tech firms. A resolution in the Senate to restore the Open Internet Order of 2015 timed out after coming close to getting passed. Considering that the FCC voted along party lines to repeal net neutrality, there is plenty of hope on the part of its champions that a Trump backlash will flip the Senate and the House to the Democrats, resulting in the return of net neutrality.

source: EFF via Gizmodo

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