WASHINGTON, DC (CBS2/CBS News) – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says that as the FCC rolls back net neutrality rules, consumers will be protected under the commission’s new “Restoring Internet Freedom” rule which goes into effect today.
The previous Obama-era order had required internet providers to treat everyone online equally, reports CBS2’s Chris Wragge.
While major internet service providers, or ISPs for short, say the web will remain essentially unchanged after net neutrality rules are rolled back, there are a few things consumers should keep an eye out for, according to consumer reports.
Data caps are expected to become widespread for broadband service. If customers hit their data limit, ISPs could either throttle their bandwidth, or charge fees for increased data usage.
Companies that pay more are essentially given higher priority.
Content providers could raise subscription rates or monthly fees for customers in order to offset the cost of access fees.
ISP could also change their terms of service to censor content deemed offensive or immoral, or they could block websites or apps that offer competing services to their own.
During an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Pai said that the new rules will provide a “light touch approach” that produces “tremendously positive” benefits for consumers.
Pai says he believes the net neutrality rules adopted during the Obama administration discourage internet providers from making investments in their network to provide better, faster online access. In his announcement of the repeal proposal last year, he claimed the regulations “depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.”
But critics claim that the FCC’s new rules could invite internet service provides an opportunity to slow down its competitors’ content. Pai told CBS that the Federal Trade Commission will work to prevent such cases of “bad apples in the internet economy” from taking place.
“We’ve empowered the FTC to take action against any company that might act in any competitive way,” said Pai. “The consumer is going to be protected and we preserve the incentive for companies to build out better, faster, and cheaper internet access.”
He added, “consumers need to protected and the FTC is the only one under current law that can do that.”
Pai has said he agrees with the concept of a “free and open” internet, but disagrees that regulating the service like phone networks is the best way to achieve that goal.