As net neutrality officially ends, here’s what you need to know about what’s next

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. (Flickr Photo / FCCDotGov)

Obama-era regulations known as net neutrality officially end Monday. The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the rules back in December amid backlash from open internet activists and big tech companies.

The regulations required internet providers to treat all lawful traffic the same, without creating paid premium lanes for some services or slowing others. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he wants to return to a “light-touch” regulatory framework for the internet and is kicking authority to police broadband companies over to the FTC.

Although the FCC’s repeal takes effect Monday, it’s not the end of the road for net neutrality. Continue reading to find out what changes today and what lies ahead for the charged issue.

Happening today: Rules that prevented internet providers (like Comcast) from slowing or speeding up service to some sites (like Netflix) are no longer in effect. That means there is nothing legally stopping a broadband provider from selling faster service at a premium or slowing some content.

Probably not happening today: Noticeable changes. Although the FCC’s net neutrality repeal takes effect today, consumers aren’t likely to see any immediate changes to their service. Comcast, Verizon, and other providers have said they won’t create paid fast lanes or throttle service, though as of today that commitment is only as good as their word. If you live in a state that has passed its own net neutrality protections, like Washington, you are even less likely to experience changes. But those state laws are legally tenuous, as the FCC included language that explicitly tries to preempt local jurisdictions from passing their own de facto net neutrality.

Happening next: The battle to preserve net neutrality is still being waged on several fronts. The Senate passed a resolution to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. A companion measure needs to pass the House to move forward though it’s unclear whether that will happen. More than 20 states — including Washington, California, and New York — are suing the FCC over its net neutrality repeal. It is possible that Congress or courts could reinstate federal net neutrality rules.