The End is Near: Net Neutrality Rules Set to Expire on June 11

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that net neutrality protections will be repealed on June 11, 30 days after the notice was filed on Thursday. Alongside the expiration, new rules governing Internet service providers will also take effect.

According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, previous rules were deemed as “utility-styled and heavy-handed.” He also emphasized that the Internet has always been open and free, so there was no need for any restrictions made during the Obama presidency.

“The Internet wasn’t broken in 2015, when the prior FCC buckled to political pressure and imposed heavy-handed Title II rules on the Internet economy,” Pai expressed in a statement. Despite opposition, Pai’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal was green-lighted in December of last year. However, by April of 2018, only a few of the provisions were implemented due to a prolonged bureaucratic process. But on May 2, the Office of Management and Budget finally signed off the remaining key points.

Set in the Obama-era, open-internet rules prevented service providers from blocking or slowing down access to specific sites and charging consumers more for faster content loading. Several Internet service providers (ISPs) were accused of throttling and restricting the access of their customers to rival companies with similar offerings. It was a practice that indicated a massive government oversight and jumpstarted FCC investigations under the 2015 rules.

Once net neutrality rules expire, transparency rules will take effect and ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are mandated to inform their customers when they will limit or restrict content and offer faster options at higher fees. These companies also pledged to be impartial against legal content.

For net neutrality advocates, the fight for an open Internet continues ahead of the June deadline. Democrat senators have presented a petition to reverse Pai’s repeal and the Senate is set to vote on it next week. Even if the legislation passes Senate and Congress hurdles, President Donald Trump is expected to reject it.  

More than 20 states have filed a lawsuit to block the net neutrality repeal. Several states have adopted laws enforcing the principles of net neutrality within their borders. FCC, however, has asserted authority over any state legislation inconsistent with the repeal.