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FCC chairman to propose reversing 'net neutrality' rules

FCC chairman to propose reversing 'net neutrality' rules

The FCC's 2015 net neutrality, or open internet, rules reclassified broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service - as opposed to a lightly regulated communications service - as the foundation for regulations that prohibited broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing web traffic and services.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai's much-anticipated speech outlining next steps on net neutrality regulation drew immediate response from inside and outside the Beltway.

The neutrality rules, Brake said, created "a messy regulatory framework that we should shed", which effectively made the internet "a heavily regulated public utility". "Instead, we need rules that focus on growth and infrastructure investment, rules that expand high-speed internet access everywhere".

Ajit Pai, who was named chair of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January, said at a speech in Washington he was aiming to reverse rules that gave the government greater regulatory powers over internet service providers, arguing they cost jobs and depressed investment.

Pai has now issued a proposal to repeal that reclassification, called Title II, raising alarms among net neutrality advocates and throughout the tech industry.

By Pai, a Republican nominated as chairman by Trump at the beginning of the year, had signaled his intention to roll back these rules nearly immediately after he took charge. Like Pai, they argue that the stricter FCC oversight enabled by the Title II classification is unnecessary to enforce them. Unlike Barlow, the EFF supports the FCC's net neutrality rules. "We can not keep the promise of net neutrality openness and freedom without the rules that ensure it".

Last year, the FCC left in place rules barring mergers among the top four national television broadcast networks: Walt Disney Co's DIS.N ABC, CBS Corp's CBS.N CBS, Comcast Corp's CMCSA.O NBC and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's FOXA.O Fox. The commission will make a provisional vote on Pai's plan on May 18th, after which a period of public comment will follow. We recognize that our customers demand access to the content, applications, and devices of their choice and as a competitive wireless carrier, we always strive to meet our customers' needs. Pai's FCC spiked the effort to go after AT&T, even before it began rolling out a plan to undo the net neutrality rules entirely.

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Blumenthal said jobs and economic progress - not just consumer convenience - is at stake if the FCC rules are changed.

But opponents of the repeal say that there is no reason to remove the classification, and that competition amongst the US service providers has thrived since the change.

Pai, named chairman by Republican President Donald Trump in January, said previous year the FCC should have repealed the ban on ownership of a broadcast station and newspaper in the same market, citing the closing of 400 USA newspapers, or about a quarter of daily titles, since 1975 as advertising revenue has sharply declined.

There has been no serious or sincere popular outcry for eliminating net neutrality from consumers or from honest advocates for innovation.

The details of Pai's plan are unclear, with several sources saying they have not yet seen the proposal. "If Net Neutrality is as important as we all say it is, it should be the law of the land, not a political hot potato resting on the third rail of American tech policy for another decade".

"And it's particularly unfortunate to hear the Chairman of the FCC deploy fact-free rhetoric about supposed "government control over the internet" - a baseless distortion of the actual issues at stake in this debate".

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