FCC To Vote On Repealing Net Neutrality Rules On December 14

The United States Federal Communications Commission will vote on repealing net neutrality rules on December 14th, Chairman Ajit Pai revealed as part of a prepared statement released earlier today. The Republican majority of the FCC is expected to approve the initiative detailed in Commissioner Pai's proposal "to restore Internet freedom and eliminate heavy-handed Internet regulations." The full contents of the draft order have yet to be publicized and will only be released tomorrow, 22 days before the FCC will formally vote on them. The summary of the proposed regulations published on Tuesday is vague on details, having been authored by Pai and only shared with his fellow Commissioners earlier today. According to the FCC head, the new regulatory framework will prevent the federal government from "micromanaging the Internet" and will only seek transparency from Internet providers instead of outright dictating how they offer their services.

The controversial decision to repeal the FCC's Title II classification of ISPs as utility providers has many opponents in the country, with most Democratic politicians, numerous advocacy groups, and various prominent individuals pointing out that the repeal of the existing rules will allow Internet providers to granularly control access to data by throttling specific websites not willing to pay to be included in their most popular Internet packages. Critics claim such an endeavor will lead to additional fragmentation of Internet service offerings that will eventually start selling fast access to popular websites like Google, Facebook, and Netflix while asking more money from consumers looking for seamless access to less popular domains. Under the current regulations, ISPs aren't allowed to prioritize data, with the rules enacted by the FCC under former Chairman Tom Wheeler effectively preserving the neutrality of the Internet, allowing small startups and any other entities or individuals to have websites that can be accessed just as quickly and seamlessly as something like Google or Facebook can.

Pai claims that mandatory transparency will be enough to preserve net neutrality, with most critics labeling that belief as naive. The FCC Chairman also said that his proposal is meant to restore power to the Federal Trade Commission if any ISPs are found to be practicing anti-competitive behavior by acting against net neutrality principles. Theoretically, if ISPs violate their stated open Internet policies, the FTC would be able to prosecute them in a world in which the FCC effectively recused itself from any jurisdiction over such affairs. The controversial plan to repeal net neutrality is officially supported by President Trump.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]