Watch CBSN Live

3 things to know about net neutrality's end

FCC chairman on net neutrality rollback
FCC chairman on net neutrality rollback 05:47

Net neutrality is no longer the law of the land. 

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday put into effect a new rule called "Restoring Internet Freedom," which replaces net neutrality, the Obama-era regulation that ensured internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) treat all websites and content equally. 

Net neutrality ended six months after the FCC voted to scrub the previous rules, despite widespread public opposition to the decision. Supporters of net neutrality argue the regulations blocked internet providers from slowing down content from rival sites or services, and kept them from charging more for bandwidth-heavy streaming services like Netflix (NFLX). 

Even though net neutrality is dead, don't expect to see immediate changes, said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy group. 

Net neutrality vote 05:03

"The big ISPs know that they're being watched -- by Congress, by the courts and by their customers," she said. "They're not going to roll out harmful paid prioritization plans, site blocking or throttling right away. But starting today they have the legal ability to do so at any time they choose."

Greer predicts that ISPs will first create packages that seem favorable to consumers, such as providing one of their own services for free while tacking on a fee for a rival service. 

"Consumers won't notice the shift at first, but over time the internet will become unrecognizable," she said. "There will be more centralization and less choice."

Here are three things to know about the end of net neutrality: 

States and advocacy groups are still fighting to save it 

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the repeal, as did the public-interest group Free Press, think tank Open Technology Institute and Firefox browser maker Mozilla.

Washington and Oregon now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California's legislature.

"The public is outraged and fighting tooth and nail to get Congress to overrule the FCC -- and it's likely that that will happen before ISPs can do too much damage," Greer said. 

The FCC says the new rules will benefit consumers

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted in favor of repealing net neutrality, said on CBS This Morning the "Restoring Internet Freedom" rule will be "tremendously positive" for consumers. 

Pai argued that net neutrality created a disincentive for internet services to invest in their networks. In his view, removing the rule will open the floodgates to corporate investment, ultimately providing faster and more widespread internet access. Yet critics say companies are likely to invest simply because they now believe they can ramp up prices and earn more money from consumers and websites.

The FTC will now handle consumer issues with ISPs

Net neutrality gave the FCC authority over internet providers, which now is being handed back to the Federal Trade Commission, Pai wrote in an article for CNET

"The FTC is empowered to take action against any company that engages in any anticompetitive conduct," Pai also told CBS This Morning. 

Yet critics say that's a mistake, arguing that the FCC has the expertise and ability to regulate the internet industry, given that the agency's bailiwick is communication networks. Others point out that the FTC, which oversees consumer protection for every corner of the U.S. economy, already has its hands full. 

--With reporting by The Associated Press.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.