FCC chairman reveals plan to kill net neutrality

Lynne Hanson
November 22, 2017

The rules, which the commission is expected to vote on at its December 14 meeting, would replace those Open Internet or Net neutrality rules, which prevented Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling legal content users sought to access, as well as preventing ISPs from accepting payment to prioritize some data.

Ajit Pei, the Trump-appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to repeal 2015 Obama-era rules, put in place to protect open access to the web. His proposal will be released on November 22, and the FCC commissioners will vote on the order in December.

Pai's proposal would require internet service providers to disclose whether they allow blocking or slowing down of consumer web access or permit so-called internet fast lanes to facilitate a practice called paid prioritization of charging for certain content.

What will the changes to net neutrality mean for internet users?

Under the proposal, internet service providers would only be required to "be transparent about their practices", Pai said.

"Businesses large and small will have a clearer path to invest more in our nation's broadband infrastructure under Chairman Pai's leadership", the post continued. The concept, known as "net neutrality", imposed utility-style regulation on ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to prevent them from favoring their own digital services over their rivals.

Tom Wheeler, who headed the FCC under Obama and advocated for the net neutrality rules, called the planned repeal "a shameful sham and sellout".

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Net neutrality is the concept that providers of internet services must treat all traffic equally. It is expected to pass, with the GOP controlling three of the commission's five seats.

"This is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the internet every day", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat.

"Ajit Pai is the sole cause of any legal or economic uncertainty affecting ISPs right now, because that's exactly what his knee-jerk proposal to abandon the prior administration's achievements creates".

Netflix also said that they didn't support the FCC.

Mr. Pai is arguing that the rollback will actually spur more competition in the ISP industry as companies become motivated to offer more choice in internet speeds and service packages to their users.

"The removal of antiquated, restrictive regulations will pave the way for broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades", Spalter said in a statement.

NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, a trade group with members including top USA cable provider Comcast and No. 2 Charter Communications Inc., said it welcomed Pai's proposal. Netflix, Google, Facebook and Twitter, all based in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, are against repeal. Such disclosure will make it easier for another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, to act against internet service providers that fail to disclose such conduct to consumers, Pai said.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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