US Agency to Vote on Overturning Obama-Era 'Net Neutrality' Rules

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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.

The FCC will vote on the plan to repeal net neutrality on December 14, and with Republicans controlling three out of the commission's five seats, the vote is expected to pass. "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".

What will the changes to net neutrality mean for internet users?

"Businesses large and small will have a clearer path to invest more in our nation's broadband infrastructure under Chairman Pai's leadership", the post continued.

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Big telecom companies say they don't want the stricter regulation that comes with the net neutrality rules.

Net neutrality is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally.

Verizon said it believed the FCC "will reinstate a framework that protects consumers' access to the open internet, without forcing them to bear the heavy costs from unnecessary regulation".

If the ownership cap is eased, as expected, by the Republican-controlled, 5-member commission, it would be a boost to Sinclair Broadcast Group as it looks to close its $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media.

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A USA appeals court a year ago upheld the legality of the net neutrality regulations, which were challenged in a lawsuit led by telecommunications industry trade association US Telecom.

Mr. Pai is arguing that the rollback will actually spur more competition in the ISP industry as companies become motivated to offer more choice in internet speeds and service packages to their users.

Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. House of Representatives Democrat, said the FCC move would hurt consumers and chill competition, saying the agency "has launched an all-out assault on the entrepreneurship, innovation and competition at the heart of the internet".

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 past year.

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Federal regulators unveiled a plan Tuesday that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use. While tech companies such as Google and Amazon support the rules claiming that without them, broadband will regulate the content received by the consumers, broadband feels that the regulations hold their business at ransom. The FCC granted initial approval to Pai's plan in May, but had left open many key questions including whether to retain any legal requirements limiting internet providers conduct.

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