FCC to Soon Begin Process of Getting Rid of Net Neutrality Rules

FCC to Soon Begin Process of Getting Rid of Net Neutrality Rules

Lindsey Duncan
February 23, 2018

On Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality rules that require Internet service providers to treat online content equally and not interfere with consumers' ability to lawfully access online content, applications, or websites of their choosing (the FCC released a final decision on January 4, 2018). Given that he backed the FCC's repeal of net neutrality provisions, the chances of that happening seem slim right now.

The Republican-led FCC in December voted three to two to overturn the 2015 rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content on the internet.

As expected, the FCC has voted to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters and cable operators keep paper copies of the FCC's regulations on hand, the latest in a series of actions to whack away at regulations FCC Chair Ajit Pai has said are part of a regulatory underbrush allowed to grow for too long.

The final draft of the rules sets April 23 as the day the repeal goes into effect, but portions of the order are still pending approval from the Office of Management and Budget, which could delay its implementation.

If net neutrality is lost, internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon could create special "fast lanes" for content providers willing to pay more.

"The Republican-led FCC voted to repeal the consumer protections in December amid an outcry from internet users and activists anxious that the move would give free reign to companies like Verizon and Comcast to disrupt the free flow of information online".

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Senate Democrats are now just one vote shy from overcoming a Republican majority.

The Democrats have so far secured 50 votes in the Senate, and need one more.

Even if Democrats do win a Senate majority, reinstatement of net neutrality would also require a favorable vote in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a larger majority. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter supported the rules.

Supporters of net neutrality say the rules are necessary to ensure broadband companies don't abuse their power as gatekeepers of the internet.

Should it pass, Markey's resolution would also bar the FCC from attempting to repeal net neutrality again in the future.