The slowdown was only fixed after Netflix agreed to pay for the upgrades.
The law doesn't prohibit so-called zero rating, in which companies providing a service pay the costs of delivering data to an ISP's customer. Of course, these commitments could change in the future, and indeed, some close observers have noticed subtle shifts in Comcast's promises already.
"The people really want a free and open internet", Hansen said.
The broadband providers typically frame this issue as wanting to be able to give special treatment to certain applications, where having extremely low lag times could mean the difference between life and death.
"I don't like the idea that someone like Amazon could pay more money and have more access to my customers", Black said, "I think that I wouldn't get as much business and you know that translates into jobs and sales". Under the new rules, internet providers are no longer required to offer equal access to all web content.
Internet providers could choose to prioritize their own content and services over those of rivals. Before the FCC passed the net neutrality rules in 2015, there were already reports that Verizon and Comcast were slowing down Netflix, YouTube, and other services. "Plain and simple, thanks to the FCC's rollback of net neutrality, Internet providers have the legal green light, the technical ability, and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate what we see, read, and learn online".
How soon should I expect broadband providers to make changes?.
Opinion polls show overwhelming public support for the net neutrality rules. Advocacy groups are calling for "mass online actions" to bring the issue further into the public eye and hopefully pressure Congress to act. So, the broadband providers are likely to move cautiously.
No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration - in other words, no "fast lanes". "They're slightly smarter than that".
The end of net neutrality could make cable giants like Comcast even richer.
"Those "fast lanes" will put those who won't or can not pay in the slow lane, making the internet look a lot like cable TV", Gigi Sohn, a counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and a staunch supporter of net neutrality, told CNNMoney.
Zero-rating programs weren't specifically barred under the now-defunct net neutrality protections. After President Donald Trump appointed a new chairman to the FCC, the agency reversed its stance on zero rating and proceeded to kill net neutrality. With the repeal of the new rules and the general-conduct provisions, the FCC will no longer have any oversight over such programs.
But several states are taking on the duty that the FCC gives up today, passing laws to restore at least part of the Obama-era protections.
But both of these approaches are expected to lead to court challenges by the FCC, whose new policy on net neutrality contains explicit language that tries to preempt states from doing exactly what the legislation and executive orders are meant to do. For example, in March, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat, signed a law that effectively replaced the federal rules.