US net neutrality rules cease to apply

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US net neutrality rules cease to apply

US net neutrality rules have ceased to have effect.12 Jun 2018

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the country's net neutrality regulations late last year, and the regulator's 'Restoring Internet Freedom Order' (RIFO) has now effectively replaced those rules.

The net neutrality rules had been in place since 2015 and banned internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling traffic over their networks or reaching commercial agreements with content providers to prioritise their traffic over that of other content providers.

The RIFO has restored the pre-2015 regulatory framework and introduces new "transparency requirements" for ISPs that require them to "publicly disclose information regarding their network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of service" to help "discourage harmful practices and help regulators target any problematic conduct", the FCC said.

In a statement, the FCC said that the net neutrality rules had negatively impacted on investment in high-speed networks and said their removal "will create a strong incentive for companies to pour resources into building better online infrastructure across the country".

However, the decision to repeal the net neutrality rules was not universally approved by commissioners at the FCC.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the move was "bad news for all of us who rely on an open internet for so many facets of civic and commercial life"

She said: "Internet service providers now have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content.  They will have the right to discriminate and favour the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road. Plain and simple, thanks to the FCC’s roll back of net neutrality, internet providers have the legal green light, the technical ability, and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate what we see, read, and learn online."