FCC chairman unveils proposal to end net neutrality

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission, led by chairman Ajit Pai, on Wednesday released the final draft of a closely watched plan to reverse a policy of net neutrality, which bars internet service providers from blocking or slowing down web content. Federal law requires the FCC and all federal agencies to take public comments on proposed rules into account - so it is important that the public comment process actually enable the voices of the millions of individuals and businesses who will be affected to be heard. The vote for net neutrality in 2015 was also along party lines, but Democrats dominated then.

Pai's order, named "Restoring Internet Freedom", would reverse a 2015 ruling that classifies internet service providers as if they were utilities, which is opposed by ISPs but supported by net neutrality advocates, who say pro-net neutrality policies encourage innovation. "Until the FCC chose to save us from ourselves by invoking Great Depression era regulations designed for Ma Bell". Net Neutrality started in 2015 under the Obama administration.

The FCC will vote on the repeal at its monthly hearing December 14th.

Pai says the Obama-era FCC had "finally met the enemy, and the enemy was giving something that consumers wanted for free".

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says that his office is investigating a scheme to corrupt the Federal Communications Commission's online public-comment process on net neutrality via the use of thousands of false identities - but the FCC is not cooperating.

The proposal also would shift some enforcement responsibility to the Federal Trade Commission, which can sue companies for violating the commitments or statements they have made to the public. The FCC, as pretty much America's media ombudsmen, have outlaid their plans to scrap Net Neutrality suggesting that Obama's protective legislation "went too far".

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"The FCC's net neutrality rules are working well for consumers, and we're disappointed in the proposal released today", Google said in a statement. Call your lawmaker NOW - and keep calling next week - and tell them to speak out against the FCC's insane proposal.

Yesterday, Pai announced his plan to eliminate net neutrality rules and to preempt state laws that regulate broadband. Capital expenditure in broadband declined by 5.6 percent since Title II was adopted in 2015, which amounted to over $3.6 billion in lost investment. The FCC also loosened restrictions to make it easier for a company to own more than one TV station in one market.

"Moves to repeal the media ownership rules threatens to create a world of corporatized, nationalized content being force fed to consumers under the guise of local news and public affairs programming", the senators wrote.

This month, the FCC also voted to begin scaling back a federal program meant to help low-income USA households get access to the internet. "So, that's definitely what we're proposing to return to, the bipartisan consensus [that] governed the internet for many years". The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps.

"When I travel around the country, I see Americans who are on the wrong side of the digital divide", Pai said.

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