Net Neutrality’s Death Official As FCC Votes To Overturn It

“I never believe all is lost”, said Mignon Clyburn, the sole Democrat at the Federal Communications Commission.

Net Neutrality rules are dead or at least will be really, really soon.

For the next 90 days, the FCC will collect comments from stakeholders and the general public before drafting a specific order and voting on whether to set it into law.

Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he expected the FCC to have 2-3 million comments in the net neutrality (Restoring Internet Freedom) docket by week’s end.

Internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp oppose net neutrality rules, saying they made it harder to manage internet traffic and discouraged investment in improving access. “The Commission’s 2015 decision to subject ISPs to Title II utility-style regulations risks that innovation, serving ultimately to threaten the open internet it purported to preserve”. Pai has already succeeded in the first step towards the elimination of the net neutrality rules.

Addressing reports of bots in the commenting system, Pai urged commenters to participate in an “honest and forthright way”.

Pai declined on May 18 to commit to retaining any rules, but said he favours an “open Internet”. It also raises worrying questions for anyone with a digital business serving United States customers, as the new rules could adversely affect the provision of their services.

While the FCC’s 2015 order may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history, the last few months have shown that political winds can and often do shift suddenly. The NPRM proposes eliminating the “Internet conduct standard” which prohibited broadband providers from unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging the ability of consumers to access and use content, applications, services, and devices of their choosing or of edge providers to make such lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers. The majority of public filings submitted to the FCC’s website support keeping net neutrality rules, according to Fortune. They protested outside the commission’s headquarters, joined by Democratic Members of Congress, and groups like ACLU, Fight for the Future, and The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Pai, a Republican appointed chairman by President Donald Trump, wants to remove strong legal authority that critics say over-regulates telephone and cable providers, and that defenders say is needed to enforce fair treatment of web traffic. Without the protection of net neutrality rules, they would be free to charge Netflix more to deliver its service to users, or to deliver it at a slower speed compared to Hulu, in an effort to force more people onto their own service. “We do not block, throttle or otherwise impair your online activity”. For some Americans, the greatest concern is meddling by internet service providers, and for others it is unelected bureaucrats attempting to “overprotect” Americans from products and services they actually like. One of the primary goals is removing the classification of ISPs as “Title II” carriers, which means they can not be as heavily regulated.