FCC votes to roll back net neutrality rules

In a widely expected move, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to propose rolling back the net neutrality rules passed during the Obama administration. "The utility-style regulations known as Title II were and are like the proverbial sledgehammer being wielded against the flea". The idea was that providers should not be able to block access or slow down access to "smaller" customers and play favorites to "big" customers who were willing to pay a lot more.

The agency voted 2-1 to move forward with the plan, starting a public comment period that must occur before the FCC can move forward with the repeal. The FCC saying in 2015 that the providers could not be left to simply make up their own rules.

Those who oppose the proposal argue lobbyists from the telecommunications industry are pushing the FCC to end the Open Internet Order's net neutrality protections.

Only in the very last paragraph was there a suggestion that some sources believe the FCC's decisions might be acceptable and that Chairman Ajit Pai is respected by people on both sides of the political spectrum. Using this self-created authority, the FCC then imposed net neutrality restrictions on broadband providers.

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The FCC's only Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, voted against the proposal. Pai also said he wants the FCC to have more of a "light touch" in regard to regulations.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., supports the deregulation. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has said to expect that total to be minuscule compared with this time around, and Schatz was clearly looking for the flood as well.

Today's action begins the process of undoing the agency's 2015 Open Internet Order, which upended the decades-old bipartisan consensus that consumers-not government regulators-should control the information superhighway.

The arguments are likely to get bitter, and the public comment period could drag on well into Fall.

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  • Delia Davidson