Wednesday, 13 December 2017

FCC to vote on net neutrality on 15 December

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Friday 17 November 17

Chairman Ajit Pai reportedly plans to scrap most of predecessor Tom Wheeler's Open Internet Order

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on whether to kill off net neutrality on 15 December. This is according to sources cited by Bloomberg late on Thursday…

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on whether to kill off net neutrality on 15 December.

This is according to sources cited by Bloomberg late on Thursday, who claimed that the regulator will propose to keep only the portion of the 2015 Open Internet Order that requires telcos to inform customers of their traffic management practices.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who was voted in for another five years in October, has made no secret of his opposition to regulating ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. In April, he proposed re-categorising ISPs as information services, subjecting them to lighter-touch regulation.

Such a move would prove popular with broadband providers, which claim that Title II regulations are unnecessary for preserving a free and open Internet, and have discouraged investment in new networks.

Meanwhile, supporters of net neutrality dispute these claims, arguing that the rules have not damaged investment, and are sorely needed in order to stop the likes of AT&T, which has expanded aggressively into video, from favouring its own online content services over those offered by rivals.

Whatever arguments are proffered ahead of the alleged vote in December, Pai is likely to get his way, given he leads a Republican majority of commissioners at the FCC.

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