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22 November 2017, 01:12 | Jenny Fowler
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai
USA regulators invoked broad powers to ensure that Web traffic for all users is treated equally, adopting net-neutrality rules that supporters say will preserve a wide-open Internet and that opponents vow to fight in court.
U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday proposed vacating Obama-era net neutrality rules, handing a victory to broadband providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. while critics warned of higher prices and a less-open internet. Pai, a Republican, set a December 14 vote on overturning rules adopted by the FCC in 2015, saying he wants to move away from "heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the internet".
Even worse, Pai plans to remove Title II classification of broadband internet access service providers.
Under the measure, internet service providers would have to inform customers about issues including blocking, Politico reported Monday. The net neutrality has been a topic that has created a heated debate between internet and telecom companies.
"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet", Pai said in a statement.
Chairman Pai had said earlier this year that the 2015 net neutrality rules were a burden to businesses and innovation. Earlier in Summer, FCC received over 21 million comments that urgent the agency to preserve the current net neutrality rules (the commission is likely to call majority "fake" as it had made unsubstantiated hacking claims).
The net neutrality rules gave the FCC power to go after companies for business practices that weren't explicitly banned as well.
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Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers treat all web traffic equally, and it's essentially how the internet has worked since its inception.
The proposal puts Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, into position to kill a rule that survived a court challenge from broadband providers a year ago. It is expected to pass, with the GOP controlling three of the commission's five seats.
Matt Wood of the consumer group Free Press said the new initiative was a "massive giveaway to the handful of media conglomerates" which control broadband.
Google condemned the move, saying, "The FCC's net neutrality rules are working well for consumers and we're disappointed in the proposal released today".
"The open internet uplifts the voices of people of color and racial-justice advocates, activists and dissenters of all stripes, independent content creators and journalists, and entrepreneurs".
The Internet Association, a trade group with members including Netflix, Facebook, Google and Amazon.com Inc., said "This proposal undoes almost two decades of bipartisan agreement on baseline net neutrality principles that protect Americans' ability to access the entire internet".
Should the commission vote to rescind the protections, internet service providers will have vast power to reshape how we access the WWW. But other tech companies and many content providers support a neutral internet.
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