Net Neutrality Officially Dead

Media warn 'internet as we know it may not exist' in articles published online

Ajit Pai / Getty Images
April 23, 2018

The "internet as we know it may not exist" now that net neutrality has officially ended, the media are warning online.

The Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality in December, but the vote did not officially take effect until Monday.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom proposal repealed the Obama administration's Title II rules. Under net neutrality, internet service providers were classified as utilities instead of information services, and subjected to broad federal regulation, for the first time in history.

The media have characterized repealing regulations that were installed three years ago as the "end of the internet as we know it."

CNET warned Monday the "internet as we know it may not exist" with the Obama-era rules that have been "out of effect" since January 2017.

"Chairman Ajit Pai has called the Obama-era rules 'heavy-handed' and 'a mistake,' and he argues that they deterred innovation and depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks," CNET reported. "To set things right, he says, he's taking the FCC back to a 'light touch' approach to regulation."

"But supporters of net neutrality, such as big tech companies like Google and Facebook, as well as consumer groups and pioneers of the internet like the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, say the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections," the website said, in the article published online.

CNET couched its warning while noting people may not notice any change at all, "right away."

"This is a huge change in policy at the FCC and it could affect how you experience the internet," the report said. "Keep in mind, your experience isn't likely to change right away, which is why you probably didn't notice anything different when you logged on today."

"But over time, it could change significantly," CNET cautioned. "Whether you think that change will be for the better or the worse depends on whom you believe."

Pai has long argued the government's hands-off approach to regulating the internet has allowed it to thrive. The net neutrality repeal returned authority to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate anticompetitive practices on the internet, like blocking or throttling traffic.

"We were not living in some digital dystopia prior to 2015," Pai has said.