The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that its controversial ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’ will take effect on 11 June 2018, effectively abolishing existing Net Neutrality principles. FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement: ‘I strongly support a free and open Internet. And that’s exactly what we’ve had for decades, starting in the Clinton Administration. The Internet wasn’t broken in 2015, when the prior FCC buckled to political pressure and imposed heavy-handed Title II rules on the Internet economy. It doesn’t make sense to apply outdated rules from 1934 to the Internet, but that’s exactly what the prior Administration did. Now, on 11 June, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for nearly 20 years will be restored.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 14 December 2017 the FCC voted in favour of repealing Net Neutrality rules. The plan was approved following a 3-2 vote – split along Republican-Democrat party lines. The divisive move has generated widespread protests from defenders of the Obama-era rules.
Net Neutrality is the principle that ISPs must treat all online data equally, and not discriminate or charge differently depending on user, content, website or application.