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Your internet use could change if ‘net neutrality’ ends

FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 file photo, Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store in New York. Consumers arenââ, ™t likely be changes made next Monday, June 11, 2018 formal repeal of the Obama-era, the internet rules that had ensured equal treatment for all. On the contrary, all changes are likely to happen slowly, and companies try to ensure that the consumer is on board with the movement, experts say. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

(Copyright 2017, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK (AP) — Your ability to watch and use your favorite apps, and services may begin to change — though it is not immediately after the official demise on Monday of the Obama-era internet protection.

Any changes are likely to happen slowly, as companies assess how much consumers will tolerate.

The repeal of “net neutrality” force six months after the Federal Communications Commission declared it to be the undoing of the rules, which had blocked broadband and mobile phone companies in favour of their own services and discriminate against rivals such as Netflix.

Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast had to treat all traffic equally. She could not slow or block websites and apps of their choice. Nor can they charge Netflix and other video additional services to reach viewers more smoothly. The rules are also excluded from a broadband provider from, say, the slow down of Amazon’s shopping site to extract business concessions.

Now, all of that is legal as long as companies post their policies online.

The change comes as broadband and mobile phone providers to increase their efforts to deliver video and other content to the consumer.

With net neutrality rules gone, AT&T and Verizon can give priority to their own movies and TV shows, while hurting rivals such as Amazon, YouTube, and start-ups yet to be born.

The battle is not quite over, though. Some states are moving to restore net neutrality, and pending litigation. Also voted in the Senate to save net neutrality, but that effort is not likely to become law.

For now, broadband providers maintain that they will not do anything that would prejudice the “internet experience” for consumers. Most currently have terms of service that indicate they are not giving preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own.

However, the companies are likely to drop these self-imposed restrictions; they will just wait until the people do not pay a lot of attention, said Marc Martin, a former FCC staffer who is now chair of the communications practice at the law firm of Perkins Coie. Any changes now, while the spotlight on net neutrality, could lead to a public relations backlash.

Companies are likely to start testing the limits in the next six months to a year. Expect to see more deals such as AT&T’s exemption from the DirecTV’s streaming TV service of customers’ cellular data limits. Rival services such as Sling TV and Netflix count video to avoid data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch.

Although the FCC released a report in January 2017, say such a scheme, known as “zero-rated”, are probably anti-consumer, the agency shall not be obliged companies to make their practices right away. After President Donald Trump appointed the new chairman of the FCC, the agency reversed its stance on zero-rating, and went on to kill net neutrality.

Critics of net neutrality, such as the Trump administration, say that these rules impede companies the ability to adapt to a rapidly changing internet.

But consumer advocates say that the repeal is just pandering to the large companies and the cable and telephone giants will now be free to block access to the services that they do not want. They can also be “fast lanes” for the service you require — in turn, with everyone to “slow lanes.” Tech companies like Netflix, Spotify and Snap echoed similar problems in the regulatory filings.

Martin said broadband providers will probably not mess with the existing services such as Netflix, as that could alienate the consumer.

But they could start charging extra for services not yet offered. For example, they can cost more high-resolution ” 4K video, while offering a lower-quality video free. The costs are paid by the video services such as Hulu, and can be passed on to the consumer in higher subscription rates.

More than 20 states sued the government to stop the withdrawal, as well as in the public interest group Free Press and the think tank Open Technology Institute, and the Firefox browser maker Mozilla.

Washington and Oregon now have their own net neutrality laws, and a bill is pending in California’s legislature.

That is another reason why companies are likely to move slowly, at least at first.

“They don’t want to add fuel to the fire,” explains Martin.

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