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FCC chairman reveals plan to kill net neutrality

22 November 2017

Ajit Pei, the Trump-appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to repeal 2015 Obama-era rules, put in place to protect open access to the web. FCC chairman Ajit Pai put forward the proposal, which will be taken up in December 14 vote, as a signature piece of his deregulation agenda. Democrats and internet companies said the rules are needed to prevent broadband providers from favoring their business partners' offerings, or their own video and other content. "We believe", Verizon said in a statement to ABC, "that users should be able to access the internet when, where, and how they choose, and our customers will continue to do so".

"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. The dismantling of net neutrality rules is seen as a major shift from Obama-era policies created to treat all websites and content equally.

The FCC's plan has also stirred up heated resistance on Reddit, where numerous users are calling for US citizens to contact their state representatives to demand their support for net neutrality.

Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it's essentially how the internet has worked since its inception.

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Pai is among three Republicans on the five-member FCC.

The proposal puts Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, into position to kill a rule that survived a court challenge from broadband providers previous year.

"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer", he said.

The repeal would be welcome news for major telecoms, who have lobbied extensively to gut regulations that restrict their control over internet traffic.

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"This proposal undoes almost two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet", it said.

Republicans and internet service providers have said the rules adopted by a Democratic-run FCC gave the agency too much power over companies, including the possibility of rate regulation. That's good for shareholders, he said, but not good for consumers, who might see higher costs passed through to them.

NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, a trade group with members including top US cable provider Comcast and No. 2 Charter Communications Inc., said it welcomed Pai's proposal. 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.

"The administration is moving to destroy the openness and dynamism of the internet", Pelosi said in an email message. "If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies' content over others, that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome".

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FCC chairman reveals plan to kill net neutrality