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The FCC has unveiled its plan to repeal its net neutrality rules

22 November 2017, 01:09 | Gina Pena

The FCC has unveiled its plan to repeal its net neutrality rules

The internet 'is the greatest free market innovation in history,' Federal Communications Commission commissioner Ajit Pai said adding that government regulations could hinder that

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.

"By repealing basic net neutrality protections, the FCC is handing over full control of the internet to providers, leaving the American people with fewer choices and less access".

The commission is expected to vote on the proposal on Dec.14.

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. The NCTA - The Internet & Television Association said over the summer that it supports net neutrality but does not believe that the current regulations promote it.

"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. 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".

Net neutrality is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally.

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Snap Inc. said in its filing to go public that overturning net neutrality would enable mobile internet providers to undermine its service and seriously harm its business. It is expected to pass, with the GOP controlling three of the commission's five seats. It ignores the law and the courts, which have repeatedly upheld the 2015 Title II rules.

Republican Representatives Greg Walden, of OR, and Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee, said Pai's plan shows the FCC "understands the importance of making sure the internet continues to flourish under a light-touch regulatory regime".

"This move would likely lead to consumers paying higher prices for the internet access and speeds they have today", Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel at Consumers Union, said in an emailed message.

Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. House of Representatives Democrat, said the FCC move would hurt consumers and chill competition, saying the agency "has launched an all-out assault on the entrepreneurship, innovation and competition at the heart of the internet".

"What Chairman Pai has proposed is unsafe and wrong, and he's going about it in the most incoherent and incompetent way possible".

Under the Obama Administration, the FCC regulated internet service providers like public utilities that gave the agency sweeping oversight over the conduct of these companies. While tech companies such as Google and Amazon support the rules claiming that without them, broadband will regulate the content received by the consumers, broadband feels that the regulations hold their business at ransom.

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