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Rollback Of Net Neutrality Rules To Take Effect June 11

May 10, 2018 - 6:29 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday said the net neutrality rules it repealed in December will end on June 11.

With the rules gone, Internet providers will now have the power to block or slow access to websites and charge more for certain online content. But while many fear that the change will mean consumers will immediately have to start paying for certain content or have their internet connections slowed and throttled, Bloomberg Reporter Todd Shields said it is not likely that internet service providers will lay down the hammers right away.

“Slowly, I think, is more the answer there. They say, of course, that they feel a lot of competition and they don’t want to drive consumers away, but I think you and I both probably know from the proverbial, you know, waiting around for the cable guy, it’s hard to switch. Even if you have competition in your town, it’s a pretty high barrier to saying, ‘Gosh, I’m fed up, I’m going to take my business elsewhere,’” he said.

Thus, internet service providers are likely to make subtle changes that the consumer may or may not notice over time, Shields said.

The decision to roll back net neutrality rules met with heavy criticism. But Shields said it was unlikely that there was any action that could be taken between now and June 11 to stop the rollback from happening.

“In the Senate, Democrats are leading an effort to use a fairly rarely-used mechanism, but they think they have enough votes to pass a rollback of the FCC’s own rollback of the earlier, more robust rules. That would return us, I think, to the Obama era rules,” he said. “But the problem with that is even if it passes the Senate on Democratic votes, the Republicans have more votes in the House and are unlikely to switch sides of the aisle on this issue and vote with House Democrats to undo the rule, and then you need a signature from President Trump, whose administration has backed this newer rule.”

There is also an ongoing court battle over net neutrality, Shields noted. But it is expected to take months to decide – with no decision likely before the fall, well after the rollback is to take effect, he said.