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Hot Takes – Net Neutrality Rollback

by Countable | 11.22.17

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it plans to repeal "net neutrality" rules that require internet service providers (ISPs) treat all web traffic equally.

It's a hot-button issue. And here are some of the Hot Takes on it:

Speaking the morning after the announcement on Fox & Friends, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that critics:

"Greatly overstate the fears about what the internet will look like going forward. I think that they also ignore that we need much more investment in networks and infrastructure to get these businesses to take the risks to build these networks, especially in rural and low income America."

He continued:

"You need to have light touch, market-based regulation, not micro-management from Washington D.C."

And like a proud father holding his newborn, Pai tweeted out a picture of himself cradling his "plan to repeal the Obama Administration's heavy-handed regulation of the Internet":

Tom Wheeler, the former Democratic FCC chairman who drafted the initial 2015 net neutrality rules, wrote in a blog post that:

"The FCC has sold out to the wishes of the companies it is supposed to regulate over the consumers it is supposed to protect. For more than a decade, previous Republican and Democratic FCCs have tried to bring fairness and balance to the delivery of the internet to consumers. Every one of those efforts has been opposed by the corporations that consumers rely on to deliver the internet."

Wheeler continued:

"Now the Trump FCC has simply cut to the chase, there is no need for the big companies to sue — they’ll just be given everything they want.”

Sen. Ted Cruz did not share Wheeler’s concerns. The Texas Republican tweeted:

Missouri Sen. Roger Wicker also tweeted his support for the net neutrality rollback:

Wicker, however, confused his constituents when he followed up the above tweet with one saying, "I will continue to work with my colleagues to put a legislative solution in place that enshrines #NetNeutrality protections into law and fosters an environment where broadband is accessible, affordable, and reliable for all Americans."

There was no ambiguity in the twitter feed of Georgia Rep. Tom Graves:

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont disagrees that net neutrality rules "stifle innovation & competition, while doing nothing to protect consumers." He tweeted:

Leahy’s fellow Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, echoed this sentiment:

Opposition to the net neutrality rollback wasn’t limited to Vermont Democrats. Washington state Sen. Patty Murray tweeted:

And Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin sent out a series of tweets:

The FCC’s decision will be put to a vote at the agency’s December 14 meeting. With the GOP controlling three of the commission’s five seats, the net neutrality rollback is expected to pass. One of two Democrats on the commission, Mignon Clyburn, tweeted a preview of her planned vote:

But Brendan Carr, one of the Republicans on the commission, tweeted:

Under the 2015 rules, the FCC reclassified broadband as a utility, which gave the commission the authority to regulate broadband like telephones. Pai’s proposal would shift that authority to the Federal Trade Commission. Maureen Ohlhausen, who was designated to serve as Acting FTC Chairman by President Donald Trump, welcomed the latest proposal, tweeting:

It wasn’t only legislatures hash-tagging. Pai retweeted this comment by investment mogul Mark Cuban:

Netflix, meanwhile, tweeted its support of "strong #NetNeutrality:

Did you take to twitter? Did you tweet @AjitPaiFCC or @YourReps? Let us know in the comments. And whether you agree with @mcuban or @SenSanders, hit Take Action and tell your reps. Or use our widget to contact Pai directly.

— Josh Herman

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