Ajit Pai, the Republican-appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is rescinding Obama-era consumer protections guaranteeing fair and open access to the internet.
Pai, who was named head of the agency by President Donald Trump, plans to repeal net neutrality standards that were implemented in 2015 as a win for “the internet economy in America” and for nearly 300 million internet users in the United States.
The FCC has unveiled a plan to repeal net neutrality, or standards that prevent Internet service providers from being able to block or favor websites.
Instead, Internet providers would now have power to choose the sites customers see and use; allowing the companies you pay for broadband service to accept payments from broadcasters and publishers that ferret their products to the front of the line.
Instead of respecting the millions of Americans who want to protect the free and open Internet, the FCC is caving in to the demands of a handful of massive corporate ISPs, like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
Pai is seeking to reverse the 2015 Open Internet Order that established clear but light touch protections for Internet users and Internet innovation.
“The FCC’s new approach invites a future where only the largest Internet, cable, and telephone companies survive, while every start-up, small business, and new innovator is crowded out—and the voices of nonprofits and ordinary individuals are suppressed,” said a statement from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Costs will go up, as ISPs take advantage of monopoly power to raise rates on edge providers and consumers alike. And the FCC’s proposed plan adds salt to the wound by interfering with state efforts to protect consumer privacy and competition.”
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