FCC Chairman Unveils Plan to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules

Jane Kelly

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, on Tuesday morning unveiled a broad plan to repeal the net neutrality rules previously put in place to create equal access to the internet. 

Under Pai's new plan, rules first introduced in 2015 to prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling online traffic would be undone, and ISPs like AT&T and Verizon would be given the substantial authority to prioritize traffic from certain website. 

"For almost twenty years, the internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress," Pai said in a statement, noting that new rules put in place under President Barack Obama "imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the internet." 

He continued, "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's plan would require ISPs to be transparent about their practices. 

The plan is set for a December 14 vote and is expected to pass given that the FCC's  is currently controlled by Republicans.

The dismantling of net neutrality rules would be seen as a win for the cable companies and wireless firms that control internet service for most American homes. These companies would now be able to charge companies like Netflix or Google that take up significant bandwidth for faster internet speeds. The IPS would also be able to prioritize internet traffic from their owned-and-operated sites and apps. 

Verizon released a statement from senior vp Kathy Grillo, who serves as deputy general counsel of public policy and government affairs, in support of the proposed repeal, that calls the plan a "much-needed return to the approach that fostered so many years of internet openness and innovation."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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