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FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Regulations

14 Dec, 2017 By: John Latchem



The Federal Communications Commission Dec. 14 repealed Obama-era net neutrality provisions by a party-line 3-2 vote, with chairman Ajit Pai and the two other Republican members supporting the rollback.

The FCC, while in Democrat hands, in 2015 voted to regulate the Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Pai’s plan restores the Internet to pre-regulatory days — a time he said harbored light regulation (under Title I of the Communications Act).

In a recent speech, Pai pointed to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which he said was intended “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet … unfettered by federal or state regulation.”

Pai contends the Internet has grown into a global information and e-commerce superhighway because of minimal regulation.

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in the Internet economy,” Pai said before the vote. “We should have a level playing field and let consumers decide who prevails.”

Pai’s efforts had been met with vocal opposition in the months leading up to the vote. Advocates of the 2015 policy, which included myriad technology companies such as Netflix, Hollywood activists and civil liberty groups, claimed giving Internet Service Providers unfettered control over pricing and bandwidth speed would hurt consumers and smaller over-the-top video services, among other concerns.

Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said regulatory changes would largely hurt the SVOD pioneer’s upstart competitors.

Just prior to the vote, some lawmakers urged Pai to delay the motion.  The vote actually was put on hold for about 10 minutes, when the meeting room was evacuated due to security concerns.


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