Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FCC Chairman sets Net Neutrality rollback vote for December 14

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will bring his proposal to rollback Obama-era Net Neutrality rules to a vote at the commission's December 14th meeting.

Pai is calling his proposal the "Restoring Internet Freedom Order," which he believes will usher in a new era of investment for Internet infrastructure.

“For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world. But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake," stated Pai.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel issued the following response: “Today the FCC circulated its sweeping roll back of our net neutrality rules. Following actions earlier this year to erase consumer privacy protections, the Commission now wants to wipe out court-tested rules and a decade’s work in order to favor cable and telephone companies. This is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the Internet every day. Our Internet economy is the envy of the world because it is open to all. This proposal tears at the foundation of that openness."

FCC Votes 3-2 to Adopt Open Internet Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a new set of Open Internet rules proposed by Commissioner Wheeler and backed by the Obama Administration. All of the new rules, which are based on the FCC's authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, while leaving room for reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed WiFi networks.

Here are the key provisions and rules of the Open Internet Order as outlined by the FCC:

Bright Line Rules:  The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet.

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”   This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. It also prohibits practices that target specific applications or classes of applications.  
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