FCC confirms plan to kill net neutrality


Calling the FCC's 2015 decision that classified the Internet as a public utility a "mistake", chairman Ajit Pai claims it has "depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation".

The move sets the stage for a crucial vote next month at the Federal Communications Commission that could reshape the entire digital ecosystem. 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".

On Dec. 14, the commissioners will vote on whether to roll back regulations instituted in 2015 for companies that include AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

With three Republican and two Democratic commissioners, the move is all but certain to be approved.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet", Pai said in an emailed statement. "Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate".

Under the measure, internet service providers would have to inform customers about issues including blocking, Politico reported Monday.

Here's how net neutrality works.

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But critics say the end of net neutrality would spell bad news for consumers, as well as for free speech.

A repeal of the rules is a big victory for cable and internet providers - and has been opposed by many tech companies and internet advocacy groups.

The new regulations will more business-friendly, giving ISPs more leeway in their business practices than the Wheeler-championed rules against prioritizing some content over other content, possibly for payment. The FCC granted initial approval to Pai's plan in May, but had left open many key questions including whether to retain any legal requirements limiting internet providers conduct.

Thanks to the repeal of net neutrality, the average internet user is likely to see their broadband access become more expensive, with their browsing experience likely slowing.

"By repealing basic net neutrality protections, the FCC is handing over full control of the internet to providers, leaving the American people with fewer choices and less access". "An ISP could slow down its competitors' content or block political opinions it disagreed with". "We agree that internet users should have the freedom to go anywhere on the internet or to run any application with confidence that internet traffic will in no way be blocked or throttled", the organization said in a statement.

A USA appeals court past year upheld the legality of the net neutrality regulations, which were challenged in a lawsuit led by telecommunications industry trade association US Telecom.