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Radio News: Net neutrality is the law, but not the practice

May 25, 2016 11:17 pm

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Net neutrality may be an issue that's never settled. Courts have struck versions down in the past, and they may again in the future. The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the "No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act," which would undermine the FCC's ability to enforce net neutrality rules, and is now in the U.S. Senate. The law is currently in effect, supposedly equalizing the internet for both home users and giant corporations, but the telecom companies have already found a way around it. Zero-rating is the latest loophole used by telecom companies to get around net neutrality rules with carriers exempting certain services, such as Spotify or Netflix, from a customer’s data plan. Net neutrality advocates say this gives certain types of data priority over others, when net neutrality is meant to create an even playing field for all. “Widely embraced, zero-rating threatens to rewrite the rules upon which the internet was built,” Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Corynne McSherry told Gizmodo. “Zero-rating helps transform the internet from a permission-less environment... into one in which developers effectively need to seek approval from ISPs before deploying their latest groundbreaking technology.” This week 58 tech companies, -- Reddit, Yelp, Kickstarter, among them -- sent a letter to the FCC asking for an open discussion about zero-rating, as the agency is looking at the practice, but not holding public hearings.