Supporters of net neutrality rules-which require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all online content equally-are aiming to convince House Speaker Paul Ryan and additional Republicans to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would overturn the FCC's party-line vote. The FTC can't take action unless something can clearly be proven to be "unfair or deceptive", something that's tricky to do in the net neutrality realm where anti-competitive behavior is often disguised as routine network management.
However, companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until people aren't paying a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chairman of communications practice at the law firm Perkins Coie.
For now, broadband providers insist they won't do anything that would harm the "internet experience" for consumers.
"They will have the right to discriminate and favor the Internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road", Rosenworcel added. That means there is nothing legally stopping a broadband provider from selling faster service at a premium or slowing some content.
The FTC would theoretically file lawsuits against ISPs that make net neutrality promises and then break them.
Washington and OR have gone farther, and passed laws that require all ISPs within their borders to offer net neutrality protections.
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In the op-ed, Pai says that repealing Net Neutrality "will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access, and more competition" while simultaneously preserving the internet as "an open platform where you are free to go where you want".
Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service.
"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", said Gigi Sohn, a former counselor for the FCC. Critics of the repeal, passed in December, claim that these regulations were necessary to prevent abuse to consumers by big internet service providers such as as Comcast and Verizon. Under the old policy, any blocking or slowing of websites would directly run afoul of the rules, inviting immediate enforcement. Per the net neutrality order, states can not enact any legislation that attempts to circumvent the repeal.
Even though net neutrality is dead, don't expect to see immediate changes, said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group. Several states, including New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and California, have gone so far as to push legislation to enforce the principles of net neutrality within their borders.