FCC Votes Down Net Neutrality

The US Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines 3-2 on Thursday to overturn the net neutrality regulations set in 2015.

The US Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines 3-2 on Thursday to overturn the net neutrality regulations set in 2015.

fcc net neutral 2017

The change will remove the FCC’s responsibility as a regulatory body of internet providers and move the responsibility of preventing anti-competitive behavior to the Federal Trade Commission.

The repeal of net neutrality regulations is seen as a victory for big telecom and cable companies such as AT&T $T, Charter $CHTR, Comcast $CMCSA and Verizon $VZ.

The new order largely removes significant regulation imposed in 2015 and ultimately allows ISPs the ability to block, throttle, or prioritize their services however they see fit, with the only caveat being they must reveal publicly when they do it.

“What saddens me the most today is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is actually abandoning you”
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said on the Net Neutrality vote

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to stop an “illegal rollback of net neutrality.”

“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers. Today’s rollback will give ISPs new ways to control what we see, what we do, and what we say online. That’s a threat to the free exchange of ideas that’s made the Internet a valuable asset in our democratic process.” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Ajit Varadaraj Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon was appointed to the FCC by President Obama, was made chairman of the commission by President Trump said the net neutrality rules have stifled both infrastructure investment and innovation.

FCC Acts To Restore Internet Freedom
FCC News Release

The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years.Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC’s 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem.

In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015. Moreover, the FCC today also adopted robust
transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers’ conduct. In particular, the FCC’s action today has restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices.

The framework adopted by the Commission today will protect consumers at far less cost to investment than the prior rigid and wide-ranging utility rules. And restoring a favorable
climate for network investment is key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers. The Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order adopted by the Commission takes the following steps to achieve these goals:

Declaratory Ruling

  • Restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act—the classification affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2005 Brand X case.
  • Reinstates the classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service.
  • Finds that the regulatory uncertainty created by utility-style Title II regulation has reduced Internet service provider (ISP) investment in networks, as well as hampered innovation, particularly among small ISPs serving rural consumers.
  • Finds that public policy, in addition to legal analysis, supports the information service classification, because it is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, thereby furthering the goal of closing the digital divide and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.
  • Restores broadband consumer protection authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enabling it to apply its extensive expertise to provide uniform online protections against unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.Report and Order
  • Requires that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission, including any blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or affiliated prioritization.
  • Finds that transparency, combined with market forces as well as antitrust and consumer protection laws, achieve benefits comparable to those of the 2015 “bright line” rules at
    lower cost.
  • Eliminates the vague and expansive Internet Conduct Standard, under which the FCC could micromanage innovative business models.
  • OrderFinds that the public interest is not served by adding to the already-voluminous record in this proceeding additional materials, including confidential materials submitted in other proceedings.


Source: Twitter, CNBC, AG.NY.gov, FCC

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