Even if the Federal Court directed a review of the repeal of certain provisions, the FCC voted 3 to 2 on Tuesday to maintain the repeal of the Obama-era net neutrality provisions.

The 2015 net neutrality rules prohibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing down Internet content or providing fee-based “fast channels.” Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the 2017 FCC order granted ISPs broad powers to reshape how Americans use the Internet, as long as they disclose the changes.

In October 2019, the Federal Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s repeal of the rules to a large extent, but ordered the agency to reconsider the impact of the repeal on public safety; regulations on the attachment of telephone poles; and the FCC’s ability to provide subsidies for broadband services. Most FCC choose to keep this order unchanged.

The cancellation of net neutrality took effect in June 2018. ISPs have not changed the way users access the Internet, but consumer groups worry that they may selectively increase prices or reduce speeds for certain customers.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Tuesday: “Among the most devout members of the net neutrality cult, except for all devotees, it is clear that all cases against (net neutrality abolition) are false.”

Internet service providers and other advocates for abolishing net neutrality say the new regulations increase investment. Consumer groups and other critics of the controversy believe that relaxing the rules of net neutrality will lead to new investment.

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (Jessica Rosenworcel) said: “The agency is not interested in solving problems correctly. On the contrary, it doubles instead of recognizing the reality of the world around us.”

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Democrats have made the abolition of net neutrality a campaign issue. President Obama’s vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, is expected to win. He will appoint an FCC chairman and will restore net neutrality.

Democratic Senator Ed Markey said: “Without the protection of network neutrality, it is only a matter of time before large broadband providers begin to increase prices and reduce Internet speeds, making it more difficult for families, small businesses and students to obtain opportunities. Recover and rebuild during the pandemic.”

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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