As of Monday, the repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections will take effect. Despite efforts from state officials and members of Congress, there will now be fewer rules governing how Internet providers can operate.
Net neutrality means that Internet providers have to treat everyone equally online. That means no speeding up or slowing down connection speeds, and no blocking of specific websites. The rules initially passed under President Obama, but the FCC under the Trump Administration discarded the rule in December.
Without net neutrality, providers can now speed up, slow down or even block certain websites and online services, but you may not notice anything right away.
Supporters of the repeal say that it will remove problematic regulations.
“Really depends on the service you have, if you have internet through Google, or Amazon or Cloud services, the test this year will be to figure out how this will affect everyone,” said Chris Bovino of Northeast IT Systems. “Not everyone knows, even the FCC doesn’t know.”
Congress attempted to overturn the FCC repeal, passing a resolution to do so with a bipartisan vote in May. Now, the matter rests in the House, which has until the end of the year to bring it to a vote.
“We need equality with the internet. it’s a utility, it has to be available to everybody in the same way,” said Susan Moses of Hudson. “Otherwise, we don’t have equality in this county and that’s what we’re all about.”
Massachusetts Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, were among those who backed the measure to maintain net neutrality.