Net Neutrality Comes to An Official End

The change comes as broadband and cellphone providers expand their efforts to deliver video and other content to consumers.

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 10:28 AM
Updated: Jun 11, 2018 10:36 AM

By MAE ANDERSON , AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps and services could start to change — though not right away — following the official demise Monday of Obama-era internet protections.

Any changes are likely to happen slowly, as companies assess how much consumers will tolerate.

The repeal of "net neutrality" took effect six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo the rules, which had barred broadband and cellphone companies from favoring their own services and discriminating against rivals such as Netflix.

Internet providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally. They couldn't slow down or block websites and apps of their choosing. Nor could they charge Netflix and other video services extra to reach viewers more smoothly. The rules also barred a broadband provider from, say, slowing down Amazon's shopping site to extract business concessions.

Now, all that is legal as long as companies post their policies online.

The change comes as broadband and cellphone providers expand their efforts to deliver video and other content to consumers.

With net neutrality rules gone, AT&T and Verizon can give priority to their own movies and TV shows, while hurting rivals such as Amazon, YouTube and startups yet to be born.

The battle isn't entirely over, though. Some states are moving to restore net neutrality, and lawsuits are pending. Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn't likely to become law.


CLICK HERE for more information on a new Oregon law aimed at preserving Net Neutrality.


For now, broadband providers insist they won't do anything that would harm the "internet experience" for consumers. Most currently have service terms that specify they won't give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own.

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. Any changes now, while the spotlight is on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash.

Companies are likely to start testing the boundaries over the next six months to a year. Expect to see more offers like AT&T's exemption of its DirecTV Now streaming TV service from customers' mobile data limits. Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

Although the FCC issued a report in January 2017 saying such arrangements, known as "zero rating," are probably anti-consumer, the agency did not require companies to change their practices right away. After President Donald Trump appointed a new chairman to the FCC, the agency reversed its stance on zero rating and proceeded to kill net neutrality.

Critics of net neutrality, including the Trump administration, say such rules impeded companies' ability to adapt to a quickly evolving internet.

But consumer advocates say that the repeal is just pandering to big business and that cable and phone giants will now be free to block access to services they don't like. They can also set up "fast lanes" for preferred services — in turn, relegating everyone else to "slow lanes." Tech companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar concerns in regulatory filings.

Martin said broadband providers probably won't mess with existing services like Netflix, as that could alienate consumers.

But they could start charging extra for services not yet offered. For instance, they might charge more to view high-resolution "4K" video, while offering lower-quality video for free. The fees would be paid by the video services, such as Hulu, and could be passed along to consumers in higher subscription rates.

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press and the think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla.

Washington and Oregon now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.

That's another reason companies are likely to move slowly, at least at first.

"They don't want to add fuel to the fire," Martin said.


CLICK HERE to read about several Oregon U.S. Senators' last-ditch attempt to save the repealed policy.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5060048

Reported Deaths: 74129
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152429427102
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581500
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
Brookings
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 46°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 46°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Very small chance for showers Saturday, dry and mild for Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

SOU Men out shoot Antelope Valley, Women win 4th-straight

Image

Friday, November 26th Evening Weather

Image

Friday, November 26 weather

Image

Thursday, November 25th Evening Weather

Image

Pet of the Week: Bat, Hunk & Keith

Image

Thursday, November 25 afternoon weather

Image

Thursday, November 25 morning weather

Image

2021-2022 StormWatch 12 Winter Forecast

Image

Wednesday, November 24 Evening Weather

Image

Wednesday, November 24 afternoon weather