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Much of what I have been reading points to ISPs being allowed to throttle, ie. slow down access to certain "competing" websites and services.

If current "net neutrality" laws were to be repealed, would ISPs be legally allowed to completely block access to, or otherwise censor, such "competing" websites and services?

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    Wait...are there any such laws now? I thought for sure that the problem was that there aren't (and that net neutrality is currently more a strong-but-violable custom than a requirement). – cHao Nov 24 '17 at 18:52
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    I have a very hard time reading through laws because I do not have related training. I am asking this question since there appears to be widespread belief (or fear) that ISPs would be allowed to freely throttle traffic. I am just wondering whether they'll be allowed to fully block traffic too. – user14492 Nov 24 '17 at 18:55
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    If they can throttle traffic, then they can effectively block it, even if it's officially allowed-but-throttled. All they have to do is set a stupidly low bandwidth cap and/or add a long delay. (No one's going to stick around and wait all day for site X to load.) – cHao Nov 24 '17 at 19:01
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    So the answer is yes? – user14492 Nov 24 '17 at 19:02
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    The answer is "probably". It depends in part on what the ISP has agreed to with other network providers, though. If there happened to be a neutrality clause in their peering agreements, then an ISP might well be barred from throttling or blocking. That doesn't seem to be a common thing, though. – cHao Nov 24 '17 at 19:09
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Under current FCC regulations, it is illegal to "degrade" internet data transfer based on "content, application, or service", so for example if I am connecting to Netflix, my ISP cannot "disprefer" my packets (that would slow down data transfer).

Since "net neutrality" is a meme and not a well-defined legal thing, it's hard to tell. In particular, to know what the result of an upcoming rule change will be, we will have to know what the proposed rule is. If the rule revokes [47 CFR 8.7], there are a number of possible changes in how things work. One would be that maybe Comcast will decide that it will no longer forward packets to or from Time Warner, which would completely cut the cord between those ISPs. For obvious business reasons, this will not happen. But in terms of a legal "could it happen?", that and a lot of other things could theoretically happen. It just depends on what the final rule is.

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