Led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, members of the federal agency voted 2-1 to pass the proposal to roll back the Obama government's 2015-decision that was created to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) more heavily, with the help of some of the same rules that apply to phone companies. "Net neutrality is critical to ensuring open and nondiscriminatory access to information for all, and today's actions by the FCC endanger that", the statement reads.
"The FCC that year succumbed to partisan pressure from the White House and changed course", Pai claimed.
Inside on the panel, however, there was only one dissenting voice: Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
The FCC's members voted two-to-one in favour of a review of the rules, which will aim to heavily loosen or abolish numerous protections established under Obama. The NPRM seeks comment on whether the FCC should keep, modify, or eliminate these bright-line rules, but the NPRM does not provide any tentative conclusions on which rules should be retained or replaced. "The utility-style regulations known as Title II were and are like the proverbial sledgehammer being wielded against the flea". After taking public comment for 90 days, the FCC "will follow the facts and law where they take us", Pai said.
Pai declined on May 18 to commit to retaining any rules, but said he favours an "open Internet".
The FCC this week began the process of reversing the previous administration's decision to impose heavy-handed Title II authority over internet service providers. "If you unequivocally trust that your broadband provider will always put the public interest, over their self-interest or the interest of their stockholders, then the Destroying Internet Freedom NPRM is for you".
While the FCC's 2015 order may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history, the last few months have shown that political winds can and often do shift suddenly.
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Before the vote, net neutrality supporters protested outside the FCC's headquarters in Washington, DC. "Libraries have a lot to lose if net neutrality goes away", says Marshall Breeding, founder of Library Technology Guides and editor of ALA TechSource's Smart Libraries newsletter.
The voting ended 2-1 in favor of trashing the net neutrality rules.
"Today, President Trump's FCC took the first step to dismantle net neutrality", US Rep.
Internet freedom advocates that tirelessly fought for years to get the FCC to adopt Net Neutrality rules were back on site ready to defend them. It also means that your provider could incentivize you to choose certain websites over others (potentially even websites owned by your provider) by making them load much quicker than others.
More generally, Title II allows either ISPs' customers or their competitors to file complaints about "unjust" or "unreasonable" conduct.
Some hope for a lasting, bipartisan solution to come from Congress.
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