FCC chairman reveals plan to kill net neutrality

Kelley Robertson
November 22, 2017

Thanks to the repeal of net neutrality, the average internet user is likely to see their broadband access become more expensive, with their browsing experience likely slowing. In its latest proposal, the commission is ready to reduce its own powers that ensure that internet providers don't block or interfere with the web traffic. The commission has five seats and the vote is expected to fall along party lines, with the three Republican members voting in favor.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet", Pai said in a statement Tuesday.

More Obama-era regulations are heading to the shredder. Pai, a Republican, set a December 14 vote on overturning rules adopted by the FCC in 2015, saying he wants to move away from "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the internet". The practice, known as zero-rating, was criticized by the previous FCC as a potential violation of net neutrality principles, but Pai rescinded his predecessor's findings upon taking office. Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science's David Choffnes warns that internet providers may be motivated to obstruct their competition from delivering content to customers. The plan includes reversing the rule that now treats broadband as a utility, removes protections that keep ISPs from blocking or slowing service and will shift some oversight power over to the FTC.

Internet companies such as Google have strongly backed net neutrality, but many tech firms have been more muted in their activism this year.


"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. They say the regulations can undermine investment in broadband and introduced uncertainty about what were acceptable business practices.

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.

"This is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the internet every day", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat. The embattled rules risk "stifling innovation, costing jobs, and casting a pall over the investment needed", said Michael Powell, chairman of the Washington-based trade group.

"Net neutrality is the idea that the internet should be free and open for everyone", said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. "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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