FCC vote kicks off a battle over regulation of the internet


So far this year, it's already received more than 2 million such comments on net neutrality, and will assuredly receive far more in the coming months.

With all of the Trump scandal and insanity dominating the news, it is easy to forget that the Republican-controlled federal government remains hard at work implementing their pro-corporate agenda. "The FCC is moving the conversation beyond the merits of net neutrality to how best to safeguard this universally embraced value with a modern, constructive policy framework", said Jonathan Spalter, USTelecom CEO. And yes it does matter: should Pai bring things to a final vote, he'll inevitably be sued by impacted competitors and consumers, and will have to prove to a court that such a severe reversal of policy is warranted so soon after the rules' creation and the FCC's appeals court victory just past year. The vote, which fell along party lines, was the just latest step the Republican-dominated commission has taken in its battle to deregulate ISPs.

A quick rewind of the clock: Title II gave the FCC its authority over internet service providers in 2015.

He publicly committed that he would make the Open Internet Order public well before it is voted. That means ISPs and wireless carriers are still bound by regulations preventing them from charging a premium for so-called Internet fast lanes. On that front, many ISPs say they support net neutrality provisions and agree that those behaviors shouldn't be tolerated. Net neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open Internet, which has been crucial to today's fights for civil rights and equality.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to advance a proposal that would overturn the Obama-era rules enshrining the concept of net neutrality. If it puts broadband back in the "info service" category and then tries to appease critics by adopting meaningful net neutrality rules, we'll be in the same position we were three years ago: Comcast will take the FCC to court-and Comcast will win.

Pai has argued that the 2015 rules have slowed the telecom industry's investment in building out broadband access and introducing innovative products, and specifically weighed on smaller Internet providers.

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Net neutrality supporters have vowed to use the public comment period to stir up more public opposition to Pai's plan.

The FCC's only Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, criticized the decision.

The other Republican on the FCC, which now has three members, supports Pai.

It's unclear if anyone actually made such a comment in good faith, though all of the replies, from the dozens of people ZDNet reached out to, said they never made an FCC comment. "That open experience - which allows consumers to go anywhere and run any application on the internet - will not change", NCTA says.

"We propose to repeal utility-style regulation", Pai said Thursday.

The FCC didn't respond to repeated requests to specifically say whether it would filter out the astroturfed comments. We could, theoretically, see ISPs slowing down content from certain sites while speeding it up for others in exchange for payments.