New U.S. net neutrality rules come into effect today

Net neutrality in the United States is officially over, as of today.

New FCC voted to roll back Obama-era rules in December

New U.S. rules governing net neutrality were voted on in December and come into effect on Monday. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Net neutrality in the United States is officially over, as of today.

In December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to change Obama-era rules that governed how major telecommunications companies treat data over the internet. That ruling comes into effect as of this morning.

Under the old rules, companies were largely forbidden from blocking, slowing down or otherwise preferring certain types of internet data over others, such as offering certain companies so-called fast lanes if they are willing to have their data prioritized.

But in a 3-2 vote, the new Trump-appointed commissioners voted to do away with rules in place since the early days of the consumer internet, during the Clinton administration.

Major internet providers such as  AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. wanted changes to the old rules. Huge new media companies such as Facebook, Google-owner Alphabet and others, meanwhile, backed the old system with some minor tweaks.

The Canadian government doesn't support the new U.S. rules, and has no plans to update regulations along similar lines.

"We fundamentally believe that all information should be treated equally," Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains told the CBC when the new U.S. rules came in, "and people should have access to an open internet."

While the new rules are now in effect, immediate or dramatic changes to the way consumers experience the internet aren't expected.

It's also unclear whether the new rules will stick around long enough to have an impact. Net neutrality proponents have launched multiple lawsuits aimed at getting the old rules reinstated, and almost two dozen U.S. states have already pledged to do their own rules governing the internet within their borders.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.