FCC targets net neutrality

FCC chair unveils plan to repeal net neutrality

Pai said he presented his proposal to fellow FCC commissioners today, and set for a vote on December 14.

Ajit Pei, the Trump-appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to repeal 2015 Obama-era rules, put in place to protect open access to the web.

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.

Pai's proposal would require internet service providers to disclose whether they allow blocking or slowing down of consumer web access or permit so-called internet fast lanes to facilitate a practice called paid prioritization of charging for certain content. Or slow down shows from competitors like Netflix, Google or Amazon.

Republican Representatives Greg Walden, of OR, and Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee, said Pai's plan shows the FCC "understands the importance of making sure the internet continues to flourish under a light-touch regulatory regime".

"Businesses large and small will have a clearer path to invest more in our nation's broadband infrastructure under Chairman Pai's leadership", the post continued.

A repeal of the rules is a big victory for cable and internet providers - and has been opposed by many tech companies and internet advocacy groups. The chairman first put the new plan to revoke net neutrality rules in motion earlier this year. The commission has five seats and the vote is expected to fall along party lines, with the three Republican members voting in favor.

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"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet".

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today issued the following statement on the draft rulemaking that he circulated to his fellow commissioners today, seeking comment on whether the FCC should "modify, retain or eliminate" the national TV station ownership cap.

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.

"This move would likely lead to consumers paying higher prices for the internet access and speeds they have today", Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union, said in an emailed message. But proponents of the net neutrality rules say that provides a strong enforcement grounding to protect consumers.

The FCC's repeal is certain to draw a legal challenge from advocates of net neutrality.

- FCC is expected to share the full text of its plans tomorrow, just a day before Thanksgiving, hoping that not many eyes will catch the bad news. More investment could translate into more competition, which has the potential to benefit consumers and narrow the digital divide, or the gap between Americans who are online and those who aren't, Pai wrote in a May statement.

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