Public has three months to respond to FCC plan repealing 2015 internet regulation framework

22 May 2017

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by new chairman Ajit Pai, last week voted 2:1 in approval of proposals to overturn the 2015 FCC ‘Title II’ internet regulation order which contained ‘net neutrality’ principles preventing internet access providers from discriminating between internet content providers. The US public now has three months to respond to the FCC’s proposals; over a million ‘protest’ statements supporting net neutrality were filed on the FCC site ahead of the official vote, according to the BBC, which adds that hundreds of internet content firms – including the largest names such as Facebook and Google – have opposed the plan to scrap the ‘open internet’ rules. Many fear that the return to ‘lighter touch’ regulation favoured by Mr Pai will give large ISPs carte blanche to block/throttle certain data traffic while channelling other selected content into so-called ‘fast lanes’ – potentially based on some content providers paying higher ‘privilege’ rates to the ISP – whilst it is noteworthy that certain large network operators including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon opposed the original 2015 regulation.

In its proposal (which it refers to as ‘ending utility style regulation of the internet’), the FCC states the intention to remove the classification of fixed broadband and mobile broadband internet access as telecommunications services governed by Title II of the Telecommunications Act (which currently gives the FCC broad powers to regulate ISPs). It proposes to revert the classification of mobile broadband internet access to a ‘private mobile service’. It also proposes to eliminate the ‘internet conduct standard’ created by the 2015 Title II Order, which the statement calls ‘extremely vague’.

See the link below for the FCC’s announcement alongside individual commissioner statements (two approving and one dissenting).

United States, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)