FCC Head Proposes Abandoning Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules

As has been discussed for months, if the new proposal is accepted by the FCC, broadband internet service will cease being subjected to Title II regulations and will return to an information service classification rather than a telecommunications one.

Under Pai's plan - called the "The Restoring Internet Freedom Order" - the federal government will "stop micromanaging the Internet".

Pai's proposal on net neutrality comes after the Republican-dominated commission voted 3-2 last week to weaken rules meant to support independent local media, undoing a ban on companies owning newspapers and broadcast stations in a single market. The FCC is scheduled to discuss and vote on net neutrality on December 14.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney who was appointed to the agency by President Donald Trump, is expected to reveal plans to overturn net neutrality this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Northeastern's College of Computer and Information Science's David Choffnes warns that internet providers may be motivated to obstruct their competition from delivering content to customers.

Pai has also argued that consumers want an end to net neutrality. The plan includes reversing the rule that now treats broadband as a utility, removes protections that keep ISPs from blocking or slowing service and will shift some oversight power over to the FTC. "We oppose the FCC's proposal to roll back these core protections", said Netflix in a tweet.

The days of net neutrality are numbered.

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"This proposal undoes almost two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet", Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association, said in a statement. "Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices".

"This is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the internet every day", said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat. The FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai have also said that the more stringent regulatory policies put in place in 2015 were attacking problems that didn't exist.

"The Internet should be competitive and open", Google said on its website.

Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chairman of the FTC, has said that the agency's expertise in data security and privacy issues will make it a powerful defender of US consumers. The rules were passed in the year 2015 and were outlining the benefit of high-speed internet to the Americans.

"The FTC stands ready to protect broadband subscribers from anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts and practices just as we protect consumers in the rest of the Internet ecosystem", Ohlhausen said in a statement Tuesday.

  • Desiree Holland