The FCC’s Order Gutting Net Neutrality Is Now Official

Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch:

The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order, which vastly curtails the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules, has officially taken effect by being entered the Federal Register.

The order, published Thursday morning, may sound like the end of the line, but in fact this is the green light for everyone in the country, from citizens to attorney generals to governors and senators, to begin the official battle against the FCC’s ill-advised, technically backwards, and deeply unpopular rule.

Today also marks the first day that ISPs can legally discriminate against or promote any data they transmit as they wish. The day after the FCC voted to dismantle net neutrality legislation, Ajit Pai made an appearance on Fox & Friends to defend the decision he led:

John Bowden, the Hill:

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday that supporters of net neutrality provisions that were repealed Thursday have been proven wrong, as internet users wake up still able to send emails and use Twitter after the regulations were struck down.

Of course, Pai isn’t stupid, and he knows that this is a completely disingenuous defence. For one thing, it will take sixty days after the repeal is published in the Federal Registry for it to take effect.

I should have written “for it to take permanent effect”.

So, now that Pai and the other Republicans on the FCC have killed net neutrality in the United States, what are companies doing on what is supposedly the first day they can invest more in their infrastructure and give consumers a better deal, as Pai repeatedly claimed?

Jacob Kastrenakes, the Verge:

AT&T has expanded its “sponsored data” program to cover customers on its prepaid wireless plans, offering them the ability to stream content from select partners without counting toward their data cap. The program was previously available to postpaid customers, but it now seems to apply to most AT&T wireless users.


Not coincidentally, the only three services I could find that support AT&T’s sponsored data are owned by AT&T: DirecTV, U-verse, and Fullscreen, all video services. If you’re an AT&T wireless customer deciding between DirecTV Now and a competitor, like Hulu or Sling TV, this program gives the AT&T-owned service a huge advantage.

What a surprise.