UPDATE: On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to dismantle the Net Neutrality regulations that have been in place since 2015. Under the new regime, the FCC will no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as a Title II designation under the Communication Act

The voting session included speeches from the five FCC commissioners, including the two dissenting Democrat commissioners, Commissioner Clyburn and Commissioner Rosenworcel.

Once the FCC makes its final adjustments to the new rules and files them with the Federal Register, the new rules will take effect. This is expected to occur early 2018.

As the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to vote on the repeal of its "Net Neutrality" rules on December 14th, Chairman Ajit Pai made a public address to defend the repeal (see full speech here).

Net Neutrality rules were introduced under the Obama Administration in 2015. Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data transmitted via the Internet the same. The rules prevent broadband companies from blocking or throttling access to the specific websites, other than as required by law.

Under Net Neutrality rules, Internet service is considered a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act (the Act). As a telecommunications service, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) fall within the scope of FCC governance.

The repeal would reclassify Internet services as an “information service” under Title I of the Act. Consequently, the oversight currently provided by the FCC would substantially pass to the ISPs directly, which would provide oversight by voluntary agreement between them.

Critics fear the repeal would enable ISPs to throttle speeds for preferred sites, leading to higher consumer costs.

Pai argues that the current regulatory regime is too onerous on start-ups, and this makes it more difficult to bring new players to market. Pai further argues that lighter regulation will stimulate innovation and competition, bettering consumer offerings.

The FCC also will vote to remove the "internet conduct standard," which gives the FCC discretion to prohibit any ISP practice that violates a set of factors. Pai argues that the factors are poorly understood, which leads to regulatory uncertainty.

The FCC is set to vote on the fate of the Net Neutrality rules on December 14, 2017. E-TIPS® newsletter will update readers with any developments.

Summary By: Jennifer R. Davidson


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