FCC votes to repeal tough net neutrality rules

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

Led by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, members of the federal agency voted 2-1 to pass the proposal to roll back the Obama government's 2015-decision that was created to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) more heavily, with the help of some of the same rules that apply to phone companies. IN 2015, many consumers thought the issue was resolved when the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted on net neutrality.

Ajit Pai, the FCC's chairman who President Donald Trump appointed in January, said he believes in the free market rather than government control of the internet.

Pai said the goal was "to return to the light-touch regulatory framework" that had allowed the internet to flourish. By Friday morning, the docket showed 2,174,196 comments, though some unknown number of those were duplicates (a thousand or so, for example, were the identical pro-Title II comment from a "Yoni Schwartz", who made it into the "top 10 filing names"). The vote, which begins a period of public comment ahead of final implementation, prompted a flurry of reactions on both sides of the debate.

The concept of "net neutrality" generally refers to treating all Internet traffic equally. With the current net neutrality rules, it is hard for internet service providers to block or slow down websites for consumers. The rules also apply to data services for mobile devices. "The political left's desire to treat internet service providers as publicly regulated utilities will erode choice and competition in the marketplace".

With net neutrality supporters, including senator Edward Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts), protesting outside the agency's building, the Republican-controlled FCC voted 2-1 on party lines to start a formal, months-long process of dismantling the existing rules.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., supports the deregulation.

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