FCC plans to repeal net neutrality rules for Internet service providers

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on the plan December 14, with the Republican-majority agency expected to approve Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal 3 to 2.

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 move sets the stage for a crucial vote next month at the Federal Communications Commission that could reshape the entire digital ecosystem.

Washington, Nov 21 The top USA telecom regulator unveiled a formal plan today to roll back the "net neutrality" rules adopted in 2015 aimed at treating all online traffic equally.

On Dec. 14, the commissioners will vote on whether to roll back regulations instituted in 2015 for companies that include AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. It is expected to pass, with the GOP controlling three of the commission's five seats.

"The FCC will no longer be in the business of micromanaging business models and preemptively prohibiting services and applications and products that could be pro-competitive", Pai said in an interview, adding that the Obama administration had sought to pick winners and losers and exercised "heavy-handed" regulation of the internet. "Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices". The goal was to prevent those internet providers from picking winners and losers among content providers.

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Unlike some matter of the FCC that principally concern technicians and policy wonks, net neutrality is a subject of fierce public debate. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to release a new net neutrality rule this week reversing that decision.

American consumers are used to thinking of their internet service as a public utility, similar to turning on the tap and getting a consistent stream of water. The FCC granted initial approval to Pai's plan in May, but had left open many key questions including whether to retain any legal requirements limiting internet providers conduct.

Comcast said no matter what the FCC decided it would "not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content".

Without net neutrality, internet providers could speed up their own shows they want you to watch. The change is seen as a victory for the telecommunications industry, while tech companies are largely in favor of keeping net neutrality.

Matt Wood, policy director for the advocacy group Free Press, likened the proposed system to the way that many companies design their privacy policies. But Columbia law professor Tim Wu says net neutrality rules have been in place for years and, "this is just upending something which has been working really well", he argues. However, Chairman Pai doesn't want the American user to fall for this "fearmongering".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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