Pressing Delete On 'Net Neutrality' As Head Of FCC Plans Repeal Vote

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Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), pauses while speaking during an open meeting in Washington on November 16.

FCC chief Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump in January, said the commission will vote at a December 14 meeting on his plan to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules championed by Democratic former President Barack Obama that treated internet service providers like public utilities.

On Dec. 14, the commissioners will vote on whether to roll back regulations instituted in 2015 for companies that include AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

Pai's proposal would require internet service providers to disclose whether they allow blocking or slowing down of consumer web access or permit so-called internet fast lanes to facilitate a practice called paid prioritization of charging for certain content.

The Internet Association, which represents Google's parent company Alphabet as well as Facebook said the vote will spell the end of net neutrality.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet", FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement released Tuesday.

"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.

Acting Federal Trade Commission Chair Maureen Ohlhausen expressed support for the FCC's plan.

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Long set at 39%, the ownership cap is accompanied by a rule known as the "UHF discount", a method of counting stations that dates to the days when stations were tuned in with a VHF/UHF dial. UHF stations are counted at a lower level in overall station tallies than VHF ones with stronger signals, enabling one owner to amass more net stations. Gutting net neutrality will have a devastating effect on free speech online.

Pai is among three Republicans on the five-member FCC.

New rules would restore a "light-touch regulatory approach", said Pai, a Republican appointed by President Trump. For example, the Obama FCC said that "zero rating" practices by AT&T violated net neutrality.

"Ajit Pai is the sole cause of any legal or economic uncertainty affecting ISPs right now, because that's exactly what his knee-jerk proposal to abandon the prior administration's achievements creates".

"The removal of antiquated, restrictive regulations will pave the way for broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades", Spalter said in a statement.

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.

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.

- FCC is expected to share the full text of its plans tomorrow, just a day before Thanksgiving, hoping that not many eyes will catch the bad news. In its latest proposal, the commission is ready to reduce its own powers that ensure that internet providers don't block or interfere with the web traffic.

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