The net neutrality law is now facing the final curtain.
It is obvious that the House would not want a vote on the CRA or resolution. It looks like the Senate Democrats were not able to persuade Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a referendum. Nevertheless, the House is still compelled to cast a vote on the decision whether to restore net neutrality protections or not if the majority of the representatives sign a discharge petition.
Today, the 2015 net neutrality law expires and will be replaced by the FCC’s Restore Internet Freedom order. Cable and broadband providers will now have the freedom to block, throttle, and engage in paid prioritization. Consumers who cannot pay an extra charge will have no choice but to settle for a slower connection and restricted access to different websites.
The government will no longer have reins on the malpractices of the edge providers which will no longer be called Title II service. They are only obligated to disclose information about their network procedural operations. Any breach or threat to competition as well as customers will be watched over by the Federal Trade Commission. Pai even called the agency a capable instrument for getting rid of any anti-competitive behavior.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ) said, “I don’t believe them when they say they’re not going to do anything and they’re going to honor net neutrality. That may be true next week, but over time I suspect they will start violating.”
Attorney generals and other net neutrality advocate groups such as the tech industry deviate their focus to federal court. Several states passed their own adaptations of net neutrality rules to counteract the FCC’s repeal. The states of Washington, Vermont, and Oregon have enacted net neutrality laws. Six governors dealt with the issue by way of executive orders. California is pushing forward with its SB 822.
While almost all are all busy with their own agendas, AT&T is facing its legal battle with the Justice Department over its Time Warner acquisition worth $85 billion in October 2016. DOJ lawyers debated that the AT&T-Warner agreement could result in higher costs for subscribers. This will likely happen if the merged companies inhibit famous channels like CNN or TNT and other cable providers have to pay higher rates to haul them. Customers, in turn, will get the backlash and will have pay higher rates as well to get access.
The Justice Department filed a case in November to intercept the deal. US District Court Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia will declare his verdict today at 4 PM after a six-week trial previously this year.
We could say that net neutrality ends today because it is the date provided by the FCC that the open internet will expire. But for all advocates, the fight is not over yet. They will be waiting for the House to schedule a vote for the resolution.
Net neutrality law is still very much alive in the Decenternet network. Internet users could regain their freedom because it empowers and protects their free speech. Consumers will not experience any blocking, throttling, and discrimination of contents.