FCC plans may scrap net neutrality rules next month

Frederick Owens
November 22, 2017

Republicans and internet service providers have said the rules adopted by a Democratic-run FCC gave the agency too much power over companies, including the possibility of rate regulation.

"The most-hated and worst-rated companies will be free to block, throttle and discriminate against your speech on the internet if Trump's FCC chairman gets his way", Wood said.

The new regulations will more business-friendly, giving ISPs more leeway in their business practices than the Wheeler-championed rules against prioritizing some content over other content, possibly for payment. The White House did not immediately comment Tuesday. USA regulators invoked broad powers to ensure that Web traffic for all users is treated equally, adopting net-neutrality rules that supporters say will preserve a wide-open Internet and that opponents vow to fight in court.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet", Pai said in an emailed statement. "Even for this FCC and its leadership, this proposal raises hypocrisy to new heights".

Because net neutrality tells ISPs they have to handle all traffic equally, the end of the regulation could allow companies like Comcast to rely on a "pay-to-play" business model, critics say.

"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer", he said in an interview. Internet users also mocked up photos envisioning what the end of net neutrality might look like.

Unlike some matter of the FCC that principally concern technicians and policy wonks, net neutrality is a subject of fierce public debate.

They prevent broadband providers from slowing down, blocking or charging more for delivery of particular internet content.

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The FCC chairman said his plan will put the Federal Trade Commission - "the most experienced privacy cop. back on the beat to protect consumers' online privacy".

The FTC could seek to bar practices that it deemed "anticompetitive" or violated antitrust rules.

The regulation survived a court challenge from broadband providers a year ago.

The group praised Pai's decision to remove "antiquated, restrictive regulations" to "pave the way for broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades".

The days of net neutrality are numbered.

Several internet companies are strongly opposed to the move. Trump has abandoned worldwide trade deals, the landmark Paris climate accord and environmental protections, taken aim at the Iran nuclear accord and closer relations with Cuba, and sought repeal Obama's signature healthcare law.

Mr. Pai added that the FCC was seeking to return to Clinton-era policies that governed internet providers with a light touch and had "proven to be successful". Pai said he had not shared his plans on the rollback with the White House in advance or been directed to undo net neutrality by White House officials. "If you like your cable company, you'll love what this does for the Internet, because it gives Internet service providers the same kind of control over content and price as cable operators have today".

Internet providers welcomed Tuesday's FCC announcement.

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