The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it plans to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules that required internet service providers (ISPs) treat all web traffic equally.
Ajit Pai, the Republican chairman of the FCC, revealed a plan that would, as the Washington Post summarized, "give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use, and at what cost."
"Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades," Pai said in a statement.
"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet."
Pai added: "Instead, the FCC would simply require [ISPs] to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate."
ISPs clicked "Like" on the FCC announcement.
"We’re very encouraged by Chairman Pai’s announcement today that the FCC will move forward next month to restore the successful light-touch regulatory framework for internet services," Verizon said in a statement.
Internet companies, however, were quick to give a downvote.
"The FCC’s net neutrality rules are working well for consumers and we’re disappointed in the proposal released today," Google said in a statement.
Tom Wheeler, the former Democratic FCC chairman who drafted the initial 2015 net neutrality rules, called the move "tragic."
"The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer," Wheeler said in an interview with the Post.
"If you like your cable company, you'll love what this does for the Internet, because it gives Internet service providers the same kind of control over content and price as cable operators have today."
The FCC’s decision will be put to a vote at the agency’s December 14 meeting. With the GOP controlling three of the commission’s five seats, the net neutrality rollback is expected to pass. Pai said he’ll release a full text of his plan to the public on Wednesday.
Do you agree with Pai’s plan for the government to "stop micromanaging the Internet"? Or, like Google, are you “disappointed in the proposal released today”? Hit Take Action and tell your reps — then contact Pai directly.
— Josh Herman
(Photo Credit: SilverV / iStockphoto)
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