Ajit Pai

In an announcement today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated that he has circulated a draft order for the repeal of Obama's Net Neutrality regulations and and the restoration of "Internet Freedom". This draft has been circulated among the other FCC commissioners for a vote at a December 14th meeting, where it is anticipated to be approved.

According to Pai, Net Neutrality has stifled innovation and investments in infrastructure through the use of "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet".

Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. 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.

With the current FCC commissioners currently comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats, it is anticipated that this order will be approved and the Net Neutrality rules will be repealed.

Why is Net Neutrality important?

Net Neutrality was created by the Obama adminstration as a way to create an open and fair Internet where Internet providers would not be allowed to block or slow down legal content for corporate reasons. This means that all legal Internet sites and services would be equal when it comes to how people connect to tem.

Under current rules, broadband providers are prohibited from:

  • Blocking: Broadband providers may not block access to lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.
  • Throttling: Broadband providers may not deliberately target some lawful internet traffic to be delivered to users more slowly than other traffic.
  • Paid prioritization: Broadband providers may not favor some internet traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind.  Internet service providers are also banned from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.

If Net Neutrality is repealed, the winners here will be broadband providers who will now have the ability to carve up how the Internet flows over their network. If an ISP doesn't agree with a particular site's content, they can block it from being accessed by their users. If one video streaming company agrees to pay more than another one, the higher paying company would get better service and streaming for their customers. If a gamer doesn't pay an extra surcharge, then connections to games could become slower.

All these things and more are possible without Net Neutrality and it could mean big money for providers.

This has not gone unnoticed by large content providers such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook who want and benefit from Net Neutrality. They know that if Net Neutrality is repealed then providers "could" charge them more to keep the connections to their services running at a normal speed.

While providers state that they have no plan on doing this, there will be no regulations to stop them. 

 

 

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