The FCC's approval of those rules was the result of a decadelong fight on behalf of the public - and against the forces of special interests that spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lawyers, public relations firms, lobbyists and campaign contributions in their quest to take over the internet.
Any changes are likely to happen slowly, as companies assess how much consumers will tolerate.
Today marks the official end to the FCC Net Neutrality rules. The new rules give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to police the broadband industry, which he says is better equipped to protect an open internet.
The goal for AT&T, Verizon and Comcast is little to no oversight for some of the least-competitive companies in America. That means no speeding up or slowing down connection speeds, and no blocking of specific websites. If you're a fan of Netflix, for example, net neutrality holds that you should be able to watch its shows without running into impediments your ISP puts up that are created to push you toward a competing service, such as Hulu.
Now, all that is legal as long as companies post their policies online. Some consumers fear a slower Internet and higher costs for broadband delivery.
The battle isn't entirely over, though.
However, in the op-ed Pai does not defend against any of the common arguments for Net Neutrality.
Most now have service terms that specify they won't give preferential treatment to certain websites and services, including their own. But here are a few tactics that have been tried before that have drawn scrutiny under the old net neutrality rules.
Pai also called the new course of action a "tremendous bipartisan success" and noted that the rules were "especially harmful for smaller internet service providers who didn't have the means to withstand a regulatory onslaught".
Supporters of net neutrality rules-which require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all online content equally-are aiming to convince House Speaker Paul Ryan and additional Republicans to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would overturn the FCC's party-line vote. But far more realistically, we're probably going to see some gradual shifts in our service over time, especially since Comcast backed down on its good-faith promise the day the repeal passed and has previously limited access to peer-to-peer applications.
Rival services like Sling TV and Netflix count video against data caps, essentially making them more expensive to watch. Pai, a Republican, who voted against the 2015 rules enacted under an Obama-era FCC, was appointed chairman by President Trump in January 2017.
Yet, some fear it's also possible internet providers will one day effectively charge customers more to access services like Netflix that are now included as part of your monthly bill. But if they start filing lawsuits, we'll know they're full of shit. "Under that approach, the Internet was open and free", he wrote.