Published: Wed, November 22, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Here's the FCC's Plan to Kill Net Neutrality

Here's the FCC's Plan to Kill Net Neutrality

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, would be voting to kill the Net Neutrality Rules that are now in effect next month.

"The FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices to that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them", Pai said in a statement.

The clear winners from the move would be telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast that have lobbied for years against regulations of broadband and will now have more control over the online experiences of American consumers. This granted the FCC authority to prevent internet providers, like Comcast and Verizon, from entering into agreements that would slow consumer access to some website while speeding up traffic to others. Dane Jasper, the CEO and co-founder of independent internet service provider Sonic, told IBT the plan to roll back net neutrality protections "marks a significant step backwards for consumers and casts a dark shadow over prospects for unlimited, open access to the internet".

"President Clinton got it right in 1996 when he established a free market-based approach to this new thing called the Internet, and the Internet economy we have is a result of his light-touch regulatory vision", Pai says.

Given the Republican majority on the FCC, the proposed rule changes are expected to pass at the next meeting on December 14. The vote for net neutrality in 2015 was also along party lines, but Democrats dominated then.

"This proposal undoes almost two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet", it said.

The FCC has released the final draft of its proposal to destroy net neutrality.

However, after months of collecting comments on the FCC website-some of which New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says may have been generated falsely and automatically by net neutrality opponents-Pai is moving forward. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would take up the responsibility of policing ISPs and protecting consumers.

"Especially the smaller companies because those are the companies that don't have the wherewithal to higher a bunch of lawyers and accountants to comply with regulations. And the Internet wasn't broken in 2015 when these heavy-handed regulations were adopted". Repealing net neutrality, she said, "is just erecting more barriers".

The planned repeal represents the latest example of a legacy achievement of Obama being erased since Trump took office in January.

Directly addressing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Schneiderman wrote that his team reached out to multiple FCC officials nine times over five months to request logs and records related to the agency's comment system. "Netflix supports strong net neutrality".

According to Pai, the decision to pass the Open Internet Order in 2015-which reclassified internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act and provided the FCC with the legal framework to regulate the companies-has left millions of Americans "on the wrong side of the digital divide" without broadband access.

Language in the new proposal would give the FCC significantly less authority to oversee the web.

"Make no doubt, the circulation of this order will bring the "sky is falling" crowd to the fore, and they will foretell a day when websites will be blocked, content censored and internet access controlled by ISP overlords".

But he said the FCC has essentially stonewalled his office by failing to provide evidence that is "crucial" to the investigation.

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