Democratic FCC Commissioner sides with keeping net neutrality rules

Image Ambar Del Moral  Mashable

Pai's plan also restores the Federal Trade Commission as the main watchdog to protect consumers and promote competition. Although the FCC's two Democrats said they will oppose the proposal, the repeal is likely to prevail as Republicans dominate 3-2. Trump, a Republican, expressed his opposition to net neutrality in 2014 before the regulations were even implemented, calling it a "power grab" by Obama.

Pai says the Obama-era FCC had "finally met the enemy, and the enemy was giving something that consumers wanted for free". The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps.

While the voting is expected to happen along party lines, million of citizens on both sides of the political spectrum have voiced their support for net neutrality regulations, writing to the FCC to share their opinion. The FCC will hold a final vote on the proposal at the agency's open meeting December 14. Instead of the FCC regulating how ISPs operate, the Federal Trade Commission would handle enforcement of net neutrality violations.

Pai's proposal would require internet service providers to disclose whether they allow blocking or slowing down of consumer web access or permit so-called internet fast lanes to facilitate a practice called paid prioritization of charging for certain content.

But Pai's announcement set off a firestorm of criticism from 'nternet companies and activists who vowed to hold demonstrations ahead of the FCC's vote.

"Nguyen compared repealing net neutrality to letting only a certain type of auto bypass traffic". The plan would roll back the regulations implemented in 2015 and effectively exempt high-speed broadband internet service from the prohibition against unreasonable discrimination in Title II of the Communications Act. To make matters worse, the commenting period that was to allow Americans to share their thoughts and feedback on the FCC's proposal to remove net neutrality rules may have been corrupted by what NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman called "fake comments".

Directly addressing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Schneiderman wrote that his team reached out to multiple FCC officials nine times over five months to request logs and records related to the agency's comment system. "Our position is clear: the end of net neutrality would only benefit Internet Service Providers".

So to sum up: states can't pass anything covered in the 2015 net neutrality order, they can't pass anything the FCC mentioned but didn't pass in this new order, and they can't pass anything that would at all make life more hard for ISPs. The FCC granted initial approval to Pai's plan in May, but had left open many key questions including whether to retain any legal requirements limiting internet providers conduct.

"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer", he said in an interview. "Congress must stop Chairman Pai's plan in its tracks and ensure that net neutrality remains the law of the land".

The "massive" scheme, Schneiderman said, involves the use of hundreds of thousands of online accounts - some with fake names, some with identities potentially stolen from real Americans - corrupting the comment process while the plan to dismantle regulations on cable companies is publicly debated.



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