Living In a Post Net Neutrality World

The FCC’s net neutrality rules are set to expire on April 23.
For many people, that’s a very scary statement. The biggest fear is that, with the net neutrality restraints removed, ISPs will now be free to throttle any content they wish. This could lead to higher costs for streaming services, slower access to content, or even lack of access to content by smaller or individual creators.
While all of this is possible, it’s helpful to remember that none of those things were a problem before net neutrality was introduced. And it isn’t as if the FCC is turning the Internet into the Wild West. There are still some regulations in place, designed to keep the ISPs honest.
One such order, called the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, requires ISPs to make their network management practices and commercial terms of service public. The intent is that this level of transparency will make it easier for consumers to understand what any ISP is offering. This would be a welcome change from the current state of affairs, where it can be difficult to get even a solid price from some providers.
Eighteen providers, including Comcast and Charter, have already pledged not to throttle or block connections that aren’t engaged in illegal activity (like piracy). Moreover, ISPs will have to answer to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. While there’s no guarantee that consumers won’t see any changes to their service, the regulations that remain may be enough to keep ISPs on their toes.
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