May 21, 2018

The FCC has unveiled its plan to repeal its net neutrality rules

22 November 2017, 12:38 | Yvette Williams

The FCC has unveiled its plan to repeal its net neutrality rules

Federal Communication Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai speaks during an open hearing and vote on

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is following through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations created to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally. The agency's Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, has made undoing the government's net neutrality rules one of his top priorities, and Tuesday's move hands a win to broadband companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

Pai's proposal is the latest step in a years-long tug-of-war over regulations dictating how companies such as AT&T and Comcast allow access to internet content - from Facebook Inc.'s social media site to Netflix Inc.'s streaming videos. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the repeal of the net neutrality rules on December 14. The commission has five seats and the vote is expected to fall along party lines, with the three Republican members voting in favor.

The ACLU has already released a statement opposing the FCC and Chairman Pai's plan and ACLU senior policy analyst Jay Stanley said, "Internet rights are civil rights".

"Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate", he said. His proposal will be released on November 22, and the FCC commissioners will vote on the order in December.

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Relying more heavily on Internet providers' own promises on net neutrality is a departure from the current rules, which lay out clear, federal bans against selectively blocking or slowing websites, as well as speeding up websites that agree to pay the providers a fee. Nearly six out of 10 Americans favor keeping the current regulations, while only 16 percent said they wanted to overturn net neutrality, according to a phone survey from Consumer Reports.

The announcement by Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai marked the latest twist in a decade-old political dispute with both sides claiming to represent a "free and open" internet. And groups like the ACLU, Greenpeace, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Color of Change voiced their support of net neutrality during the Day of Action that took place in July. The rules were passed in the year 2015 and were outlining the benefit of high-speed internet to the Americans.

"The administration is moving to destroy the openness and dynamism of the internet", Pelosi said in an email message.

The days of net neutrality are numbered. "We agree that internet users should have the freedom to go anywhere on the internet or to run any application with confidence that internet traffic will in no way be blocked or throttled", the organization said in a statement.

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