The FCC has officially unveiled the final proposal that could see net neutrality rules eliminated completely. Back in 2015, a series of rules were put into force that disagreed with actions such as blocking, throttling or any kind of paid prioritization. With today's draft, though, the FCC is moving forward with plans to scrap these rules altogether, just six months after initially starting the rollback of net neutrality rules.
The Federal Communications Commission has stated that 2015's ruling was "misguided" and led to "erroneous conclusions," while also arguing that the new plan will increase investment in broadband and necessary innovations due to the easier process and lack of any regulatory uncertainty. As part of the draft, the FCC states that the current guidelines are unnecessary with the existence of the Federal Trade Commission, which will now oversee any ISPs. The FCC's role, on the other hand, will be to require transparency among internet providers if the plan is accepted. Companies such as Verizon and T-Mobile will, therefore, be able to speed up connexions for certain websites or services while slowing it for others in order to push customers towards their favored services or even their own content. Not only this, but providers will also have the option to block services such as Netflix altogether. Nonetheless, due to the increased transparency regulations, in cases where blocking, throttling or paid prioritization is present, the internet providers will be required to disclose it. After it has been disclosed, it will then be evaluated and a ruling will be given to determine if the actions are anti-competitive.
Reversing net neutrality rules has been one of the principal goals of Ajit Pai, who was appointed the chairman of the FCC in January. The plans were received by heavy praise from internet providers and others alike, but other companies and groups have been much more critical of the proposed ideas. The plan is yet to be put in place but will be voted on at the FCC's December 14 and is likely to be approved. If so, it would certainly be a big win for Pai, who is still in his first year as Chairman, but, in terms of consumers, the benefits are much more debatable.