"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", Pai said in a statement last month.
An edge provider, for those wondering, is an individual or entity that provides content, applications or services over the internet, or devices for accessing any of those things over the internet, available to end-users, i.e., the consumers. Under the new guidelines, ISPs can block, throttle, or prioritize internet content as much as they like, as long as they clearly disclose to customers that that's what they're doing. Companies that pay more are essentially given higher priority. "They now have nearly free reign over what content their subscribers will have access to", he wrote.
The Federal Communications Commission has officially lifted Obama-era internet protections known as net neutrality, leading to a potential change in how fast apps, websites and online services load depending on internet service providers (ISP.) The change comes six months after the FCC voted to undo the rules.
For anyone who hasn't been following, net neutrality is the concept of treating all internet traffic the same, no matter where it originates from. Pai's administration announced its initial review of net neutrality practices over the summer, prompting tech companies like reddit and Netflix to simulate a slower Internet.
Washington and OR now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane.
Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally. If the only providers that can serve state governments are those that observe net neutrality, these states reason, then it could shape what services consumers are offered, too.
That is, except if you live in Washington state.
For instance, both the ISPs and the FCC have claimed that net neutrality has hurt investment.
In May, congress overturned the repeal with a bipartisan vote in the Senate.
The blocking and slowing of websites gets much of the attention in the net neutrality debate.
Without net neutrality, it technically becomes legal, for example, for an internet provider like Comcast to give preferential treatment to a video service like Hulu, which it owns, while slowing down other services like Netflix - and that would obviously be undesirable for Comcast subscribers who use Netflix.