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FCC Outlining Plan to Roll Back Net-Neutrality

by Countable | 11.21.17

What’s the story?

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to unveil their plan for the future of net neutrality. The Obama -era rule had required that internet service providers (ISPs) treat all web traffic equally; the FCC is expected to roll back this regulation at their mid-December meeting.

In 2015, the FCC crafted regulations to ban ISPs from throttling speeds to certain sites and giving preference to some sites over others. But the current head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has said these rules unfairly burden the ISPs, especially "mom and pop" ones, and that the government should not preemptively impose regulations on ISPs.

"My concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas," Pai said.

The expected changes, the Wall Street Journal wrote (paywall), "would open the door to a wide range of new opportunities for internet providers, such as forming alliances with content firms to serve up their webpages or video at higher speeds and quality than those without such deals."

Why does it matter?

The idea of net neutrality is that all Internet traffic should be free to run at equal speeds. Some large ISPs support rules that would allow them to prioritize or speed-up the communications of certain sites over others, or even block some sites. Under current law, ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are barred from dictating which sites their clients may access, or

throttle-down the speed of certain sites.

To better understand this theory in practice, consider Comcast, just one of many large companies that delivers the Internet to millions of Americans. Comcast is affiliated with television producer NBC. Without net neutrality rules, Comcast would be free to promote NBC’s content over ABC’s, and/or provide slower load times for ABC.com. The Internet is currently an open superhighway; without net neutrality, that highway could have fast and slow lanes.

Advocates of net neutrality argue that the FCC needs to regulate ISPs to keep them from "controlling" the internet. Battle For The Net – who arranged this summer’s Net Neutrality Day of Action – wrote:

"FCC Chair Ajit Pai is about to announce a vote to slash America's net neutrality rules — meaning companies like Comcast & Verizon will be able to block apps, slow websites, and charge fees to control what you see & do online."

Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive officer of the Internet Association, told the Journal:

"There is simply no reasonable justification for repealing the net neutrality protections currently on the books. Consumers are paying for access to the entire internet, and [ISPs] should not be able to discriminate against websites and apps."

Proponents of reversing the status quo, including Pai, "say hard-and-fast rules can stifle investment and innovation in a fast-moving industry," according to the Journal. ISPs, they wrote, “also viewed the rules as a solution in search of a problem, given the internet’s relative openness historically.”

Pai has also argued that if the U.S. introduces strong net neutrality protections, it could provide a green light for authoritarian states to crack down on online freedoms.

"If in the United States we adopt regulations that assert more government control over how the Internet operates… it becomes a lot more difficult for us to go on the international stage and tell governments: ‘Look, we want you to keep your hands off the Internet,’" Pai said. "Even if the ideas aren’t completely identical, you can appreciate the optical difficult[y] in trying to make that case."

What do you think?

Should the web remain neutral? Or should ISPs treat the internet more like cable TV, offering tiered payment plans for the sites and apps you use? Hit the Take Action button and tell your Reps. And make sure to use our widget to contact FCC Chair Ajit Pai directly.

— Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: ArtemSam / iStockphoto)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(233)
  • Dave
    11/21/2017
    ···

    Our democracy depends on a free, open, non censorship net neutrality. It is part of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. To repeal, restrict or anything else would be tyranny, cover up and a dictatorship that says everything is fake news, unless it comes from them. Controlling, slowing it down and censorship is a slippery slope for democracy. This effects Twitter, Facebook and all media forms. This is your first amendment at stake!

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  • Sonya
    11/21/2017
    ···

    There’s no reason to get rid of net neutrality. This is just another attempt to overturn Obama era policies. This will hurt Americans by giving ISPs the right to control access to content on the web. Is this America or Russia?

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  • Sean
    11/21/2017
    ···

    No matter how hard I try, others will have said this more articulately. Nonetheless, I must write to you about net neutrality. It is imperative that we protect our internet (and thus our nation) with a fair & equal internet. We see how much different news sources can shape people’s minds. If companies are allowed to funnel people into certain sources, we’ll be under the influence of big money. It’s hard enough to fight the influence of big money in advertising, but we’ll have an even more uphill battle if the internet can be provided in tiers.

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  • LindaMews
    11/21/2017
    ···

    There is simply no reasonable justification for repealing the net neutrality protections currently on the books. Consumers are paying for access to the entire internet, and ISPs should not be able to discriminate against websites and apps. Allowing this rule to be repealed only benefits the ISP’s, not YOUR CONSTITUENTS. Please remember that we are the ones that vote, not the ISP’s.

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  • Sean
    11/21/2017
    ···

    This is a complete disaster. What’s best for the American people is definitely not in the mind of the administration or Congress.

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  • Gary
    11/21/2017
    ···

    We American citizens deserve Net neutrality. Please don't sell our best interest in another gift to big corporations. We deserve better than this.

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  • Kevin
    11/21/2017
    ···

    "I support 'Title Two' net neutrality rules and I urge you to oppose the FCC's plan to repeal them. Specifically, I'd like you to contact the FCC Chairman and demand he abandon his current plan."

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  • Jeff
    11/22/2017
    ···

    Keep net neutrality. Stop bowing down to large corporations. Represent the people who elected you because we can Unelect you just as easily.

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  • JJcounts2
    11/21/2017
    ···

    I urge you as my representatives to oppose this move by the FCC chairman. We can not afford to surrender the internet to the wealthiest companies in America. This would stifle innovation, and I believe it would hurt the American people, and our economy in the long term. The American people have already made it known that they oppose the repeal of net neutrality laws, and I believe that sentiment has not changed during the last few years. Again I strongly urge you my as my representative to oppose this course of action.

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  • RadicalModerate
    11/22/2017
    ···

    This is so the Russians can’t tell the angry ignorant masses who to vote for. Now it’ll be GOP TV 📺 24/7 coming to you live with terrifying news to shape your opinions and drive your sinning Hart’s back to Jesus.

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  • Ralph
    11/23/2017
    ···

    In my experience, anytime you give corporations an opportunity to take advantage of the population, they will never choose to do what is fair and right. Net neutrality will be no different. Those of you, who have always cherished a free and equal internet, prepare to witness avarice at the worst. What ever happened to the idea that corporations are just businesses licensed and overseen by the state in which they are incorporated? NOT the other way around!

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  • Marcia
    11/22/2017
    ···

    Do not get rid of net neutrality. It exists to protect us from price gouging and unfair practices that would happen. All data on the internet should be protected equally. You are playing to the big businesses if you push this through - they will be the ones that benefit if this is rolled back, not the little guy.

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  • Callie
    11/21/2017
    ···

    We must uphold net neutrality. It is more important than simply freedom of speech or ease of access. Without net neutrality, it would become easy for someone with great (monetary) power to push people towards certain political beliefs and ideas. This is not acceptable in the current political climate.

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  • Kevin
    11/21/2017
    ···

    I am against our FCC rolling back net neutrality. It gives companies unfair say on who gets to access faster internet speeds when it should all be the same. We pay for our services thinking that we should be able to stream and watch things without the company controlling what we get to watch faster or not.

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  • William
    11/21/2017
    ···

    I started a small business when I was 19. I am 34 now with a family and employees. The business I started grew and was successful because of the open internet. Please vote yes to keep anything net neutrality. We need a free and open internet.

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  • Toni
    11/21/2017
    ···

    Net neutrality is critical for equal access to the knowledge and opportunities of the internet. Rolling back net neutrality benefits only big corporations, at the expense of the citizens - similar to many other policies of this administration. Please vote against this!

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  • RadicalModerate
    11/21/2017
    ···

    John Katko, Donald Trump, Roy Moore. Destroyers of innocent lives.

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  • Meredith
    11/22/2017
    ···

    Net neutrality exists to protect our sacred rights to freedom of speech. If we start allowing corporations to dictate what we see and when, what’s next? Regulations on what we can read, what we can say out loud, what we can think? As our representatives, it is your responsibility to protect our democracy.

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  • Countryfirst
    11/21/2017
    ···

    We DO NOT live in a dictatorship..well, we didn't before this orange haired buffoon and all his hacks came into power..this is NOT justice..we aren't Russia ( yet)..fight this America

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  • Caroline
    11/21/2017
    ···

    I support 'Title Two' net neutrality rules and I urge you to oppose the FCC's plan to repeal them. Specifically, I'd like you to contact the FCC Chairman and demand he abandon his current plan which would ruin internet access. I do not want corporations to decide for me which parts of the internet I can view. Further, I believe this will raise costs at least to some parts of the internet.

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