Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

FCC leader promises better Internet as net neutrality rules expire

FCC chair promises consumers will be protected after net neutrality repeal Greg Nash
Katie Ramirez | 13 June, 2018, 18:41

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era rules in December in what was seen as a major victory for Republicans who had pledged to scrap the rules.

As chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai spearheaded the repeal of the agency's net-neutrality rules. Pai, who had been a commissioner when the rules were first approved, is a longtime critic of the policy.

Other states, including New York, Vermont, and Montana, are using executive orders and various other means of reinstating net neutrality, but at the moment, Washington is the only state to pass a bill protecting it. OR passed similiar legislation, but it won't go into effect until next year, as Motherboard reports.

While Congress recently voted to overturn the FCC's plan in the Senate, governors in New York, New Jersey, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Hawaii, have signed executive orders protecting net neutrality in their own states. 22 states nationwide and D.C. have filed a protective petition for the order's review.

With the end of net neutrality, Broadband providers insist they won't do anything that harms the "internet experience" for consumers.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said last week the rollback will ensure more investment by providers and will ensure "better, faster, and cheaper Internet access and more broadband competition to the American people".

"Now, on June 11, these unnecessary and harmful internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for almost 20 years will be restored", Pai said in a statement last month.

Consumers won't notice changes any time soon, as the new rules will take a while to take effect. The rules that were repealed banned ISPs from blocking websites or apps; ISPs were also banned from throttling or slowing down data due to the nature of content if that content was legal. Want access to Facebook and Twitter? Almost two dozen states and several companies have sued the government to try and preserve the rules.

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"ISPs could curate what online content and services most people will have access to, and which ones will only be available to those who are willing to and can afford to pay extra", Schaub added.

"The gutting of net neutrality is a symbol of our broken democracy", said consumer group Fight for the Future. Protestors tried everything to get the FCC to go back on its decision to eliminate the rules, include a "Break the Internet" day but the FCC has plowed on. "President Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed on a light-touch framework to regulating the internet".

"Today, the Trump Administration has set into motion the destruction of the free and open Internet", she claimed.

Several internet providers made public pledges that they would not block or throttle sites once the rules were repealed.

However, according to the FCC, states don't have the power to make their own policies. Ed Markey of MA wrote on Twitter.

"Following the decision to repeal net neutrality, many Americans anxious that the internet would turn into what cable-tv is: a set of options based on price and preference".

"There is widespread agreement among senators from both parties that we need to maintain a free and open internet", Thune said.

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