What to watch: Net neutrality's end approaches
With the FCC announcing that net neutrality rules will end on June 11, lawmakers, lobbying groups, and internet users have quite a few questions about what comes next.
Why it matters: There's been a lot of chatter about what the repeal of the rules — which restrict internet service providers from playing favorites with different types of content — could mean. Soon, opponents and supporters of the net neutrality rules will start to find out.
Outside groups, tech companies, and state government officials plan to fight to preserve net neutrality rules, while supporters of the repeal fight to keep laws from cropping up elsewhere.
- USTelecom, a lobbying group that represents Verizon, AT&T and others, has said it will "aggressively challenge state or municipal attempts" to enforce net neutrality on their own, Ars Technica reported.
- Several tech companies have announced lawsuits against the FCC.
- 22 state attorneys and D.C. refiled lawsuits in February to block the repeal.
Democrats aren't done fighting for net neutrality — but their effort is a long shot.
- Two Republicans, Sens. John Kennedy and Lisa Murkowski, voted to move forward with debate on the resolution rolling back the net neutrality repeal, despite not previously voicing support for the bill. A vote on final passage of the resolution will come later in the day
- Per Axios' David McCabe, the resolution "has dim chances in the House, and even worse odds should it unexpectedly reach Trump’s desk."
Internet providers are facing questions as to what new programs they'll implement or policies they'll change upon the end of the rules, with many not giving clear-cut answers yet.
- Internet providers are unlikely to immediately start blocking and throttling content, especially with the ongoing court battle.
- Comcast said it would ban paid prioritization except for “specialized services," per Ars Technica.
- Comcast vice president David Cohen said: "There is a recognition that something might come along that is not anti-competitive, that is pro-consumer, that is a specialized service available not to every user of the Internet, [and] that would be in consumers' interests and in the public interest.”
- Verizon says on its website that it will not slow down or block content, and "will not accept payments from any company to deliver its traffic faster or sooner than other traffic on our consumer broadband service."
- T-Mobile has said it "will support an open internet."
- CenturyLink said it does not "'block, prioritize, or degrade any Internet sourced or destined traffic based on application, source, destination, protocol, or port unless it does so in connection with' established security practices."
- Sprint's CEO said in February, per Fierce Wireless: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong for you to eventually charge a higher price for a faster access to your network...[T]he economics say, consumers are willing to pay more for a better service and are willing to pay less for a different type of service."