(By Keith Collins of NYTimes.com): It’s official. The Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, which had required internet service providers to offer equal access to all web content, took effect on Monday.
The rules, enacted by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2015, prohibited internet providers from charging more for certain content or from giving preferential treatment to certain websites.
After the commission voted to repeal the rules in December, it faced a public outcry, legal challenges from state attorneys general and public interest groups, and a push by Democratic lawmakers to overturn the decision. The opponents argued that the repeal would open the door for service providers to censor content online or charge additional fees for better service — something that could hurt small companies — and several states have taken steps to impose the rules on a local level.
Still, the repeal was a big win for Ajit Pai, the F.C.C.’s chairman, who has long opposed the regulations, saying they impeded innovation. He once said they were based on “hypothetical harms and hysterical prophecies of doom.”