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FCC plans to repeal net neutrality rules for Internet service providers

22 November 2017

Under the proposal, the FCC's rules would pre-empt state or local regulations that impose net neutrality requirements on broadband providers, a senior FCC official said. FCC chairman Ajit Pai put forward the proposal, which will be taken up in December 14 vote, as a signature piece of his deregulation agenda.

The rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking, slowing or prioritizing websites, and could open the door to extra charges for high-speed access. "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".

The Internet Association, which represents Google's parent company Alphabet as well as Facebook said the vote will spell the end of net neutrality.

"Businesses large and small will have a clearer path to invest more in our nation's broadband infrastructure under Chairman Pai's leadership", the post continued.

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. The concept, known as "net neutrality", imposed utility-style regulation on ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to prevent them from favoring their own digital services over their rivals.

How do you feel about the end of net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it's essentially how the internet has worked since its inception.

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Republican Senator John Thune said Pai's plan was an improvement over the Obama rules but that "the only way to create long-term certainty for the internet ecosystem is for Congress to pass a bipartisan law".

Pai is among three Republicans on the five-member FCC. For example, the Obama FCC said that "zero rating" practices by AT&T violated net neutrality. The proposal to scrap off the rule will be issued on Tuesday by the chairperson of F.C.C Mr. Ajit Pai.

The repeal would be welcome news for major telecoms, who have lobbied extensively to gut regulations that restrict their control over internet traffic. However, Chairman Pai doesn't want the American user to fall for this "fearmongering".

"Without net neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes", said the advocacy group Free Press.

Pai's full proposal will be released on 22 November, a day before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. 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.

The Internet Association, a trade group with members including Netflix, Facebook, Google and Amazon.com Inc., said "This proposal undoes almost two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet".

FCC plans to repeal net neutrality rules for Internet service providers