Vote kicks off battle over regulation of internet

Joan Terry
May 19, 2017

On the other hand, ISPs say they are constrained by the 2015 rules from investing in their networks and offering innovative services of their own.

But lone Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn took issue with the move by her Republican colleagues, Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

The FCC's new proposal - titled "Restoring Internet Freedom" - considers not only whether to undo the legal approach that enforced those rules, but also whether the rules were warranted in the first place.

For his part, Pai insists that the reaction to net neutrality is overblown, saying that the internet was fine prior to 2015.

During the Obama Administration, prior chairman Tom Wheeler opted for Title II regulation upon a federal appellate court's decision that the FCC had exceeded its authority in issuing rules meant to require broadband providers like AT&T and Verizon to treat internet traffic equally. Singer found that such infrastructure investment by network companies has declined 5.6 percent in 2016 from 2014.

The term net neutrality has come to encapsulate the idea that Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon should treat all web traffic equally and fairly. Companies anxious that regime would make it easier to regulate the prices they charged for broadband.

Footwear experts said it's still too early to say how repealing Title II could impact e-commerce companies. "They don't like it so they complain about it".

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eBay supports net neutrality and opposes undermining a robust and open Internet.

But the vitriol often unleashed by the internet is already leaking into this inter-industry tech-policy battle. Few Americans have real competitive choices. Oliver even begged supporters to be civil in an online video posted Sunday. More generally, the FCC will seek comment on the costs and benefits of the rate floor. In fact, the FCC's comment system crashed after an Oliver segment. The current net neutrality rules make it illegal for Internet service providers to block or slow down websites for consumers.

Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers (such as AT&T and Verizon) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Many broadband companies view TV, film and online content as the answer: By buying up media firms, ISPs can create bigger bundles to sell to customers.

"This is beginning of the process, not the end", Pai said Thursday. "We firmly stand by that commitment because it is good for our customers and good for our business".

But what about net neutrality? . Copps also called the proposal a "red light for democracy and a green light for cable and telecom giants to control where we go and what we do on the internet". The action "jeopardizes the ability of the open internet to function", Clyburn said. Groups that back the 2015 rules have said they plan to campaign against representatives who don't help reinstate the rules.

For further reading on the topic, see the many, many articles we've written here at Light Reading in the last two years.

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