The Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, announced this week that the agency will seek to fully repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules. In a statement, he claimed that the Democrats imposed “heavy-handed, utility-style” regulations on the Internet, and they needed to be undone.
“The FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate,” Pai said in a statement, as per The Hill.
The vote on the proposal will take place on December 14, but it’s widely expected to be in support of a full repeal as the FCC is Republican-dominated. The name of this initiative, by the way, is “Restoring Internet Freedom”.
— The FCC (@FCC) November 22, 2017
Net neutrality, as a basic principle, guarantees that internet service providers (ISP) and government-run agencies ensure that all legal websites are treated equally, and access to them is open to everyone that has a connection to the Web.
Not all countries have it, and Portugal recently made headlines for being a worrying case study of what happens when such laws are circumvented. Although technically bound by the European Union’s net neutrality rules, legal loopholes allow businesses there to sometimes ignore them.
A Lisbon-based telecommunications company took advantage of the government’s lackadaisical attitude and experimented with selling mobile Internet access in tiered packages. The cheapest packages, for example, permit only instant messaging or social media use; only more expensive combinations permit the user to access everything, from emails to music to video streaming and so on.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Trump relisting North Korea as a sponsor of terrorism will escalate military conflict. Have we not learned? Bush was wrong to renege on Clinton diplomacy and label them part of the axis of evil.</p>— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RoKhanna/status/933485751236358145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 23, 2017</a></blockquote>
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In effect, with this system, you get a restricted Internet access unless you spend more – something that net neutrality laws would prevent.
Thanks to all the Will Smiths who stepped up. Had to enlist half the company to go through all the messages, so we’re closing submissions for now. Stay tuned…
— Netflix US (@netflix) November 20, 2017
Thanks to the Obama administration’s strong support for net neutrality, the US gained some of the best protections in the world back in 2015. It classified broadband as a common carrier under that year’s Open Internet Order, keeping ISPs from cutting off, slowing, or restricting access to the Internet as they see fit.
However, ever since the changing of the guard, the FCC has been seeking to undo these rules, despite nearly 22 million Americans (along with several high-profile Web-based services) writing in to protest such a move.
Full article on iflscience.