Killing net neutrality rules is a march toward folly

Defenders of net neutrality protest FCC Chair Ajit Pai and telecom lobbyists in Washington D.C

Jody Rose, executive director of the New England Venture Capital Association, said that although companies are built on "the foundation of equal access to the internet", net neutrality is "more than just an economic issue".

A lot of the tech industry is not happy.

The gist of the message is still the same it has been during the last few months, stop and cancel this week's vote to repeal Net Neutrality.

The letter calls for the vote, due to be held on 14 December, to be cancelled due to what the authors regard as a lack of transparency and a refusal to listen to critics of the plan. "These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment [PDF] signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers", the letter states, adding that not only did the FCC fail to "correct its misunderstandings" but also "premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws" that were pointed out.

The order does invoke the previous Title I law, but it brings no net neutrality rules with it.

The FCC now classifies internet providers as utilities - meaning that they are not allowed to artificially limit the speeds of certain web traffic or to charge certain companies more than others to allow customers to access them.




The agreement would see oversight return to the FTC, which will be able to investigate the activities of ISPs if they are considered to have deceived the agencies and customers over their practices.

It is notable that the letter is addressed to Congress, rather than the FCC, following several weeks in which FCC chair Ajit Pai and his fellow Republican commissioners have responded to widespread criticism and critiques of their plan with mockery and disparagement rather than considered responses. Advocacy groups have reacted furiously to Pai's proposal, which they say will give internet companies leeway in setting different standards for different content. "Costs will go up, as ISPs take advantage of monopoly power to raise rates on edge providers and consumers alike". In fact, a poll of president Trump's own voter base conducted by competitive networks association Incompas in July found that 70% felt that the internet has improved in the two years since president Obama enacted the net neutrality regulations.

Internet giants Netflix, Facebook and Alphabet, as well as smaller companies AirBnb, Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy and Twitter, had also urged the FCC to scrap the plan.

Today's letter also mentioned fraud in the FCC's public comments system.

Conversely, telcos welcomed the news, saying that the decision will put the reins of innovation back in the hands of private investors without being hampered by excessive government oversight.

The Restoring Internet Freedom order restores nothing and is a willful abdication of the FCC's historic duty to protect consumers and the public interest.

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