Net neutrality rules are once again in place in the US, giving the Federal Communications Commission authority to stop internet providers from unfairly degrading your service. The battle for net neutrality isn't over, but this still marks an important milestone. The commission originally implemented net neutrality rules in 2010, but they were overturned in court last January. After a lengthy period of public comments, the commission passed a new set of rules that appear to stand on stronger legal backing. The rules passed in late February, but they're only now going into effect.
The internet isn't about to change, the FCC just has more power to stop problems
Though the rules are now active, there aren't about to be major changes to the internet. In fact, these rules are largely meant to preserve the status quo. They prevent internet providers from blocking access to apps and websites, from throttling traffic speeds, and from selling fast lanes. The rules apply to mobile internet and traditional wired connections, and they also reclassify internet providers' legal standing in a way that will give the FCC more authority to regulate them. In short, if the commission thinks that an internet provider is unreasonably interfering with your ability to access or choose what you do online, it can now stop them.
At least, the commission has the power to stop them for now. To absolutely no one's surprise, internet providers are once again bringing the rules to court in an attempt to overturn them. Legal proceedings haven't progressed much so far, but a federal court did decline a request yesterday that could have temporarily halted the rules. The Washington Post reports that oral arguments are expected to begin around the turn of the year. It's not clear how long it'll take before the commission's latest attempt at net neutrality is either fully overturned or found to be on solid ground — there's a lot to discuss — but for now the rules are here and helping to keep the internet open.
"This is huge victory for Internet consumers and innovators! Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair, & open. Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past." Chairman Tom Wheeler on the DC Circuit Court's denial of the petition to stay the @FCC's #OpenInternet Rules #FastFairOpen #FCCGov