- The FCC will vote on a new rule December 14 that will repeal net neutrality regulations put in place in 2015.
- Many fear revoking net neutrality will allow internet providers and telecoms to provide preferential treatment to some internet traffic, stifling innovation and competition.
- FCC chairman Ajit Pai says repealing net neutrality is good for consumers because it will allow for more investment from telecoms.
Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally, no matter what internet service provider (ISPs) is carrying it. ISPs claim such rules stifle investment and innovation. Net neutrality advocates fear repealing net neutrality rules would allow ISPs to prioritize traffic, which would put more power in the hands of larger telecom companies.
The FCC will release the draft order a few weeks ahead of its vote on December 14. Pai's draft order will require ISPs and telecom companies to be transparent about their offerings instead of being regulated by the FCC.
Buckle up: Pai's move will likely ignite a huge debate in the coming weeks over net neutrality. It's going to get messy. But Republican commissioners have a majority of the seats on the FCC, so it's likely this proposal will pass.
Here's the full statement from Pai on the draft order that would repeal the FCC's net neutrality rules:
For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.
But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.
Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.
Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.
Speaking of transparency, when the prior FCC adopted President Obama’s heavy-handed Internet regulations, it refused to let the American people see that plan until weeks after the FCC’s vote. This time, it’ll be different. Specifically, I will publicly release my proposal to restore Internet freedom tomorrow--more than three weeks before the Commission’s December 14 vote.
Working with my colleagues, I look forward to returning to the light-touch, market-based framework that unleashed the digital revolution and benefited consumers here and around the world.
This post originally appeared on Business Insider.