Net Neutrality Repeal Takes Effect in April, States are Fighting Back with Last-Minute Lawsuits

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The days of net neutrality are numbered. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally set April 23 as the date when the Obama-era regulations will cease to take effect according to a copy of the order published on Thursday with the Federal Register. But of course, various net neutrality supporters are not going to take this one lying down and are expected to file lawsuits as a last-ditch effort to challenge the repeal.

Net neutrality regulations were put in place during the Obama administration to ensure that all internet traffic is treated equally. With this safeguard in place, broadband companies can’t just slow down or block traffic from certain sites or prioritize other sites when it comes to bandwidth allocation. In addition, internet service providers are barred from accepting money to prioritize certain companies’ websites and make them more accessible to customers.

Since broadband companies and ISPs act more or less as the net’s gatekeepers, the rules are seen by their supporters as a way to deter abuse of this power. Big tech companies such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook were supportive of net neutrality while big telecom firms such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T opposed the regulations and clamored for their repeal.

Net neutrality opponents scored a major victory last December when FCC voted 3-2 to have the laws repealed. However, supporters are expected to fight back by filing lawsuits questioning the repeal. In fact, attorneys general in more than 20 states, as well as tech companies such as Mozilla, have already filed lawsuits last month to stop the repeal from taking effect. They are expected to refile their lawsuits within 10 days after FCC’s order was published in the Federal Register.

Congress is given a 60 day period to pass a resolution to reverse FCC’s repeal. Democrats, who support net neutrality, say that they already have 50 votes in the Senate and lack only one more to pass the bill. Such a bill might face a tough time in the House of Representatives considering that Republicans control a larger majority.

However, some states are not waiting for a vote on the bill and have passed net neutrality laws within their areas. For instance, New Jersey, New York, and already have their own net neutrality policies that ISPs need to adhere to.

[Featured image via Pixabay]
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