FCC plans to repeal net neutrality rules for Internet service providers

22 November, 2017, 01:12 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • FCC Proposes End of Obama Era Net Neutrality Rules

Pai, a Republican, set a December 14 vote on overturning rules adopted by the FCC in 2015, saying he wants to move away from "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the internet". In place of the existing rules, he added, the FCC would "simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices".

Pai said his plan would return to a "light-touch regulatory approach" which has allowed the internet to flourish.

Pai's proposal reportedly does little to clarify what authority the FCC would have to protect the open internet going forward, leaving the transparency rules the agency might retain on shaky legal ground at best.

"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.

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The announcement by Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai marked the latest twist in a decade-old political dispute with both sides claiming to represent a "free and open" internet.

Long set at 39%, the ownership cap is accompanied by a rule known as the "UHF discount", a method of counting stations that dates to the days when stations were tuned in with a VHF/UHF dial. UHF stations are counted at a lower level in overall station tallies than VHF ones with stronger signals, enabling one owner to amass more net stations.

The Internet Association had also said that the repeal will actually harm investment in the tech industry as "in a world without net neutrality protections, startups would face discrimination from ISP owned or preferred content that's granted a speed advantage through paid prioritization".

Republican Senator John Thune said Pai's plan was an improvement over the Obama rules but that "the only way to create long-term certainty for the internet ecosystem is for Congress to pass a bipartisan law".

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The repeal would be welcome news for major telecoms, who have lobbied extensively to gut regulations that restrict their control over internet traffic.

"Without net neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes", said the advocacy group Free Press. They say the regulations can undermine investment in broadband and introduced uncertainty about what were acceptable business practices.

Pai's full proposal will be released on 22 November, a day before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.

"The open internet uplifts the voices of people of color and racial-justice advocates, activists and dissenters of all stripes, independent content creators and journalists, and entrepreneurs". Or slow down shows from competitors like Netflix, Google or Amazon. "If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies' content over others, that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome".

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