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FCC vote kicks off a battle over regulation of the internet

19 May 2017

In fact O'Rielly voted against implementing the rules in the first place while serving under Chairman Wheeler. What is now at stake is the ability of the FCC - the expert agency by law - to protect consumers on what is now one of the most critical inputs to the US economy - broadband networks.

Next comes a three-month comment period, during which we can submit notes of support or opposition to the rule - and they can be a little more specific now that the questions in the NPRM have been answered.

Free Press, an advocacy group that supports net neutrality, has its own competing study showing broadband companies' infrastructure spending rose, and says USTelecom is wrong to exclude some spending by AT&T and Sprint.

The American Cable Association also got in on the act: "ACA applauds the FCC for beginning a proceeding to scrap utility-style Title II regulation of ISPs and return to the light-touch approach that had proven so successful for so many years prior to the previous FCC's 2015 order".

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"Net neutrality is critical to ensuring open and nondiscriminatory access to information for all, and today's actions by the FCC endanger that".

FCC chairman Ajit Pai disclosed in April the agency may withdraw "bright line" rules barring internet companies from blocking, throttling or giving "fast lanes" to some websites. It will be months before final rules are up for a vote. Broadband providers say they have never done that and never will.

Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc and other internet companies back net neutrality rules, saying they guarantee equal access to the internet.

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) condemned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s vote on Thursday that begins undoing strong net neutrality protections. During the review process that's just been opened, the commission will consider the proposal internally and take comments on it from stakeholders and the public. Gutting net neutrality would allow big corporations like Comcast and Verizon to block or slow down websites based on a site's ability to pay to be read. Instead, Chairman Pai is proposing to abdicate the FCC's role and give it to the Federal Trade Commission, which, while an important partner, can not make rules and lacks the technical expertise to do so. Shortly after Trump was elected, Pai claimed net neutrality's "days were numbered." . This is a mirror of the argument made by net neutrality advocates, who argue that Google or Netflix have little to lose in a non-neutral web, where they can use their resources to cut deals that smaller competitors can't.

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"We were not living in some digital dystopia before the partisan imposition of a massive plan hatched in Washington saved all of us", Pai said in April.

Republican Ajit Pai is the current chairman of FCC.

"Counts of comments have only so much value", he said.

But Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, parried, noting a lack of evidence that the broadband industry's power to prioritize the delivery of certain types of content over others will be used for ill. They were upheld past year by a three-judge panel.

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FCC vote kicks off a battle over regulation of the internet