WASHINGTON – Net neutrality – the Obama-era rule that kept internet providers from blocking or slowing down websites – has officially been repealed.
The move gives internet providers more freedom to prioritize different websites.
It essentially means that a free market approach instead of government regulation will now determine how businesses operate on the internet.
For example, they can choose to give customers faster service when streaming videos on Netflix and slowing it down when using a site like Hulu, or vice versa.
Critics say the end of net neutrality will force out smaller companies that can't pay to compete.
Tejas Narechania of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology was a former FCC advisor on net neutrality during the Obama administration and isn't a big fan of the move.
"What we'll see is that these companies will slowly start to implement policies, services that benefit their own affiliates and might have detrimental effects on their competitors," Narechania said.
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a long- time critic of net neutrality, but didn't have the votes to kill it until President Trump took office.
He says removing the rule will free businesses to make network upgrades that make internet service faster.
Meanwhile, the battle isn't over because liberal states like Washington and Oregon have already created their own net neutrality laws. And California's legislature is considering a similar measure.