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Monday, June 11, marks the official end of the US government's net neutrality rules, which had required broadband providers such as AT&T, Charter and Verizon to treat all Web traffic equally.

Many also feared that without the net neutrality rules in place, the ISPs could start offering its customers "service packages", which would splinter the internet.

Back in February, FCC's new chairman Ajit Pai, who is a former Verizon lawyer, issued a "Restoring Internet Freedom" order in the Federal Registry. Under its principles, Internet providers shouldn't interfere with your ability to reach the websites, apps or services of your choice. That tactic, which experts call "paid prioritization", runs the risk of creating an uneven playing field where big, dominant Internet companies can afford the fast lanes while start-ups or small businesses get left behind, net neutrality activists say. In Montana and NY, governors signed executive orders that uphold the Obama-era net neutrality regulations. Even some technology companies joined the fight to preserve net neutrality, including Mozilla and Vimeo.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who voted against the repeal, said Monday that the decision put the FCC "on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public". T-Mobile, for example, was criticized by net neutrality supporters for effectively making it cheaper for customers to stream videos from Netflix and HBO, putting other video services at a disadvantage. This means that if a consumer doesn't like the service their local ISP offers, they have no other company to choose instead.

A more urgent battle is brewing in several states, which are passing their versions of net neutrality rules in defiance of the federal repeal. The longer-term ramifications of a world without net neutrality is what concerns proponents of a fair and open internet - issues like a threat to free flow of information and a hazard to speech rights.

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"It's patently illegal for the states to make their own internet policy", Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who served on President Trump's transition team for the FCC, told CNNMoney last month.

As you surf the internet, you might not notice anything different.

Also, the Senate voted to save net neutrality, though that effort isn't likely to become law.

As of late May, 29 state legislatures had introduced bills meant to ensure net neutrality, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Originally put in place by the Obama-era FCC, the regulation prevents ISPs and wireless carriers in the USA from charging streaming content providers for a "fast lane" that would disseminate their media at a faster data speed and at a higher resolution than the competition.

AT&T declined to comment on net neutrality or the lawsuit. He has spent more than eight years covering the ways that tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google navigate the corridors of government - and the regulations that sometimes result.


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