FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced the agency’s intention to repeal a 2015 order that prevented broadband and wireless providers from either blocking or slowing down consumer access to content on the web.
The plan aims to completely eliminate the current net neutrality regulations currently in place. Pai confirmed that the vote to nullify the Obama-era net neutrality rules will take place on December 14.
Because there are three Republicans and two Democrats on the commission, and the vote will surely fall on party lines, the scrapping of net neutrality is a likely possibility.
The new proposal, which has been a long time coming, suggests that the federal government will cease "micromanaging the internet," according to Pai. A new rule would see internet service providers required to be "transparent" on their practices only so "consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate."
“Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015," Pai added.
He also spoke out against President Obama's implementation of the internet regulations from a few years ago. Under Obama, the FCC treated broadband providers like public utilities, which allowed it complete supervision over the way the internet providers conduct its policies. "Speaking of transparency, when the prior FCC adopted President Obama’s heavy-handed internet regulations, it refused to let the American people see that plan until weeks after the FCC’s vote. This time, it’ll be different," said Pai.
How will it be different? Pai said that he’ll release the proposal that details his plan to restore “internet freedom” tomorrow. He noted that this will be more than three weeks before the vote takes place on December 14.
The aforementioned proposal also states that instead of the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission is the government agency that will oversee the so-called protection of the internet. "Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy," Pai stated.
Net neutrality requires ISPs to treat all internet data as the same regardless where it came from. The FCC's rules, however, have sparked major controversy due to their decision to place broadband providers under the same stringent regulations governing telephone networks.