According to everyone, the free and open internet died on Monday.
Or did it?
In December, the Federal Communications Commission, lead by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 3-2 to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules put in place by his Obama-appointed predecessor, Tom Wheeler. On June 11, they were officially rolled back.
Pai has said repealing the rules will open up investments and clear the way for companies to build out broadband services in underserved communities.
But his opponents argue that net neutrality prevents Internet Service Providers from prioritizing content or throttling broadband speeds. And those net neutrality diehards have been very vocal, and proactive, about protecting those protections.
And there are some protections in place. So far three states — Washington, Oregon, and Vermont — have passed legislation protecting net neutrality. Another 32 states (and Washington, D.C.) have also proposed some sort of government protection of net neutrality. Mayors in 123 cities have said ISPs working with their cities will have to adhere to net neutrality rules. Attorneys general from 23 states, joined by a dozen-odd private groups, including Mozilla, Kickstarter and Etsy, have also sued the FCC, saying they didn’t have the right to repeal the 2015 regulations. And finally, the U.S. Senate has already passed a measure reinstating net neutrality.
Which is a long way of saying it could be a while before net neutrality is well and truly dead across the United States. And that leaves us in a new internet era: net purgatory.
This segment originally aired June 11, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.