FCC announces plan to kill net neutrality

FCC announces plan to kill net neutrality

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The dismantling of hard-fought net neutrality regulations is all but certain, as the FCC has revealed its plan to repeal the rules passed under the Obama administration.

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on the plan Dec. 14, with the Republican-majority agency expected to approve Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal 3 to 2. His draft order is circulating among the commissioners now; he says he will publicly release it Wednesday.

Net neutrality is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally. The rules passed in 2015 include prohibiting the establishment of fast and slow lanes on the internet.

Repealing the rules would hand a big victory to cable and internet providers, which theoretically would be able to do things such as prioritize some online content — including their own — over others. A repeal is opposed by many tech companies and internet advocacy groups.

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

Pai is also taking the opportunity to repeat his assertions that the net neutrality regulations — established after years of litigation over broadband providers throttling internet speeds and more — are bad for innovation.

He cites industry research that claims broadband investment has decreased because of net neutrality rules, charges that proponents of net neutrality dispute.

For example, Dane Jasper, CEO of Bay Area-based ISP Sonic, said in response to a question from this publication Tuesday: “Sonic has continued to expand our fiber-optic network and doesn’t see Title II classification as a barrier. However, it is true that a number of small ISPs have feared Title II because they’d have to stop throttling video and instead upgrade their networks to comply.” Read More