AT&T, Comcast win as Trump FCC urges end of Obama web rules

Posted November 22, 2017

With Ajit now at the helm, the Federal Communications Commission is assured to restore a framework deregulation for broadband internet access service; however, this opportunity doesn't come without significant risks.

Federal regulators unveiled a plan Tuesday that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use. Supporters of net neutrality have also said that without regulation, a greater socio-economic digital divide could develop, creating a class of information "haves" and "have nots".

The FCC will vote on the plan to repeal net neutrality on December 14, and with Republicans controlling three out of the commission's five seats, the vote is expected to pass.

Pai is among three Republicans on the five-member FCC.

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"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet", said Pai in a statement.

Pai's proposal would require internet service providers to disclose whether they allow blocking or slowing down of consumer web access or permit so-called internet fast lanes to facilitate a practice called paid prioritization of charging for certain content. Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online.

Fifteen years after the passage of the Telecommunications Act, the Federal Communications Commission traded its values of a free market for nonessential enhanced government control, most prominently after the White House had released a YouTube video urging the Federal Communications Commission to implement Title II regulations, apparently compromising the independence of the agency.

During President Barack Obama's tenure, the then head of F.C.C Tom Wheeler said that the rules were vital as they prevented companies such as Verizon to low down the operations of services like Netflix.

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Telecom and cable companies have said other Internet-based companies, including Google and Netflix, that collect data have an unfair advantage because are only not overseen by the FTC. In 2015, the FCC approved a set of regulations on those companies, known as internet service providers. 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.

What will the changes to net neutrality mean for internet users?

The FCC received more than 22 million comments. "An ISP could slow down its competitors' content or block political opinions it disagreed with".

"The administration is moving to destroy the openness and dynamism of the internet", Pelosi said in an email message.

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Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chairman of the FTC, has said that the agency's expertise in data security and privacy issues will make it a powerful defender of USA consumers. But Columbia law professor Tim Wu says net neutrality rules have been in place for years and, "this is just upending something which has been working really well", he argues.