Net neutrality was restored after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate Internet service providers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission voted Thursday to restore “net neutrality” rules that prevent broadband Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon from favoring some sites and apps over others.

This step effectively restores a Net neutrality system The commission was first issued in 2015 during the Obama administration. In 2017, under then-President Donald Trump, it created the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He abolished those rules.

The measure passed Thursday on a 3-2 vote along party lines, with Democratic commissioners in favor and Republicans opposed.

Net neutrality requires ISPs to treat all traffic equally, eliminating any incentive they might have to favor business partners or disadvantage competitors. Public Interest Group General Knowledge Describe Net neutrality is “the principle that the company that connects you to the Internet cannot control what you do on the Internet.”

The rules prohibit, for example, practices that throttle or block certain sites or apps, or that reserve faster speeds for services or customers willing to pay more for them.

“In a post-pandemic world, we know that broadband is a necessity, not a luxury,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement before the vote.

Although it has been nearly seven years since the FCC repealed previous net neutrality rules, reinstating them is not expected to significantly change users' online experience. John Bergmeier, Public Knowledge's legal director, attributes this to the many states that passed their own net neutrality measures before 2015, all of which remained in effect when the FCC reversed course two years later after Trump's election.

“Some of the worst abuses ever from (internet providers) have been controlled through state-level censorship,” Bergmeier said.

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States like California have gone further than the FCC has done — for example, by banning a practice called “zero rating.” Here, for example, a mobile service provider may enter into a commercial deal to steer users towards a particular streaming service by waiving any associated data charges. Other states with strong neutrality rules include Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, according to Bergmeier.

The telecommunications industry opposed the reintroduction of the federal rules, as it has done before, declaring it an example of unnecessary government interference in business decisions.

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