FCC Chair to Discuss Net Neutrality Strategy Wednesday

FCC Chair to Discuss Net Neutrality Strategy Wednesday

Ajit Pai, the Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is set to release a plan Wednesday to roll back the government's net neutrality rules, setting the stage for another major showdown between tech companies and Internet service providers over the future of the Web.

Net neutrality rules enacted during the Obama administration basically prevents broadband providers from playing favorites or steering users toward (or away from) particular internet sites.

In 2012, internet companies took on the entertainment industry in a fight over online piracy. Then after taking comments and a typical delay of four to six months, Pai would propose a final rule.

"Chairman Pai has now joined the chorus of Republicans in Washington who have signed onto Donald Trump's corporate attack on our freedoms". Democrats and privacy advocates have said net neutrality is crucial to keeping the internet open.

The battle over net neutrality is heating up.




AT&T Inc, Verizon and Comcast, three of the biggest ISPs in the USA argue that such regulations frustrate internet traffic management while also impeding any potential investment in infrastructure to provide additional capacity.

In his much-awaited speech, Pai is expected to discuss his vision of net neutrality. "There's common ground here and there's room for an agreement here", Pai told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. The FCC's job, he said, "is to make sure our rules change to keep up with the times".

Pai did not give a specific date but said it will be for Class C and D stations, and the necessary IT work is being done now and it's going well. John Oliver also dedicated a show segment to the topic, which raised awareness of an otherwise jargon-y, abstract issue. Supporters of the broadband industry argue that ISPs should be able to seek out new business models to stay competitive.

The ISPs pledged to continue to protect an open internet because it was not in their interests to block, throttle or degrade traffic, and that rather than being the gatekeepers (which they were branded by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in justifying Title II), it is the "Frightful Five" edge providers-Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google-that have the scale and ability to dominate other sectors.

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