FCC Chairman Plans To Remove Net Neutrality - Opposing Views

FCC Chairman Plans To Remove Net Neutrality

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has unveiled his plan to repeal net neutrality provisions.

Regulations were adopted under the Obama administration in 2015 to ensure that internet service providers could not favor particular companies or websites by varying internet speeds, KCAL reported.

Pai, a longtime critic of the net neutrality rules, was appointed to head the FCC by President Donald Trump in January 2017. 

He alleged in his statement that the Obama-era rules were "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations” which “depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation," according to KCAL.

The chairman's plan was circulated among FCC commissioners on Nov. 21. It is due to be released in full Nov. 22.

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If adopted, the proposal would eliminate rules preventing service providers from blocking content or services online. FCC officials also said the proposal would get rid of restrictions on service providers promoting their own content or content associated with third parties with whom they have struck agreements.

Pai declared that his plan would order the government to "stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers 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."

The FCC initiated a consultation on its approach to net neutrality prior to Pai's announcement. The majority of responses favored retaining the current regulations.

The Internet Association, an alliance with members that include Facebook, Google and Amazon, strongly criticized Pai's plan.

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"This proposal undoes nearly two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet," Internet Association president and CEO Michael Beckerman stated, according to CNN Money.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, pointed out the problems the change could cause.

"Our internet economy is the envy of the world because it is open to all," she stated, according to KCAL. "This proposal tears at the foundation of that openness. It hands broadband providers the power to decide what voices to amplify, which sites we can visit, what connections we can make, and what communities we create."

But FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, argued that Pai has the right idea.

"The government should not control or heavily regulate internet access," said Carr.

The FCC, which is led by three Republican commissioners and two Democratic ones, is expected to vote in favor of Pai's proposal to repeal net neutrality at its next monthly meeting on Dec. 14.

Sources: KCAL, CNN Money / Featured Image: Federal Communications Commission/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Shealah Craighead/govdelivery.com via Wikimedia Commons, Federal Communications Commission/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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