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On Monday, the net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama administration came to an end. "Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for nearly 20 years will be restored," FCC chairperson Ajit Pai said in a statement last month.
Back in December, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted, 3-2, to repeal the regulations in favor of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order set forth by Pai. The only thing that prevented the rollback from taking place earlier was approval by the Office of Management and Budget. Once that hurdle was cleared, the FCC set a date of June 11 for when the changes would be implemented.
In May, the U.S. Senate made a last-ditch effort to keep the Obama-era regulations in place. The initiative was moved to a vote in the House, but failed to make any headway from there. Those opposing the FCC’s repeal efforts argue that net neutrality protections prevent the companies responsible for providing internet access from creating an uneven playing field for online content consumption.
Without net neutrality, internet providers can slow down the traffic of their competitors, or any site they wanted to slow down. They could also create "fast lanes," which would allow certain sites to pay extra for faster connectivity. The absence of net neutrality regulations will force smaller entities to fight an uphill battle for exposure from the moment they burst onto the scene. It's unfair, but apparently, the FCC doesn't see it that way.