FCC moves forward with plan to scrap net neutrality protections

FCC moves forward with plan to scrap net neutrality protections

Pai said the goal was "to return to the light-touch regulatory framework" that had allowed the internet to flourish.

The Federal Communications Commission has officially begun to undo Obama-era regulations on Internet service providers, often called net neutrality rules.

The FCC voted 2-1 to loosen those regulations.

"The changes you are making at the FCC will only make the fragile balance between artist and businessman more impossible to maintain". As dozens of protesters outside urged the agency to stop the proceeding and keep the strict oversight, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai argued that the current rules represented a "bureaucratic straitjacket" on the industry.

For the next 90 days, the FCC will collect comments from stakeholders and the general public before drafting a specific order and voting on whether to set it into law.

According to the FCC's lone Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, the decision to revisit the rules was merely the latest in a broader effort by Republicans to undercut its own mission. He delivered a scathing rebuke of the plans, calling it "a hollow theory of trickle-down internet economics" that "contains ideological interpretive whiplash".

Finally, the approved measure proposes the agency to eliminate the net neutrality rules - the rules that ban the blocking and slowing of websites, as well as forbid Internet provides from charging websites additional fees. "If you unequivocally trust that your broadband provider will always put the public interest over self-interest or the interest of their stockholders, then the "Destroying Internet Freedom" [proposal] is for you", she said.

Big web companies like Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and others back net neutrality rules, saying they guarantee equal access to the internet.

This may appear like an issue that only affects the USA, but it may have troubling implications for the rest of the world, encouraging heavier deregulation by other countries. Reversing net neutrality protections will have far-reaching ramifications.

"The FCC proposes to return to the bipartisan framework that preserved a flourishing free and open Internet for nearly 20 years", the agency said in a statement. "More new USA "over-the-top" video services launched in the two years following the vote than in the seven years prior".

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