The Federal Communications Commission gave internet service providers a holiday gift Thursday as it repealed net neutrality rules in a contentious vote along party lines, potentially ushering in drastic changes to the internet as we know it. The new order also eliminates an Internet conduct standard meant to prevent ISPs from unreasonable interference with consumer's access to destinations on the Net.
"What is the FCC doing today?" asked FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican.
The order will also require Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or Verizon to release transparency reports detailing their practices towards consumers and businesses.
The net neutrality rules barred internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from manipulating internet speeds or outright blocking websites at their discretion. His office claimed he found more than hundreds of thousands of those comments in New York, Florida, Texas, and California. In November, Farhad Manjoo argued that the internet has already been dying a slow death, and that the repeal of net neutrality rules only hastens its demise.
Not now. The UK's net neutrality is now enshrined in European Union law, which upholds strong net neutrality principles. "It'll be just as necessary tomorrow as it is today". "Americans deserve a fair and open internet". The FCCs vote on net neutrality yesterday was, in its own way, a very important vote.
The vote mirrors the partisan split that favored Democrats when the Title II designation was approved in 2015.
Schneiderman characterized Thursday's vote by the FCC as a "blow to NY consumers, and to everyone who cares about a free and open internet". "I haven't heard any of my peers complaining".
The US has repealed landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet. "This is not a pledge of good-heartedness, it's a pledge in the shareholders' interest".
In a statement before the vote, commission member Jessica Rosenworcel, an Obama appointee, explained why she would be dissenting.
And just as previous attempts to pass Internet regulations landed in court, so likely will these new rules. "That is because there is nothing in our commercial, social or civic lives that have been untouched by, uninfluenced or unmoved by its power".
"The internet wasn't broken in 2015", Pai argued in his remarks made on Thursday. "To the contrary, the internet is one thing, perhaps the only thing, in American society that we can all agree has been a stunning success". This angered ISPs and their backers who feared it would open the door to price controls and "heavy-handed" regulation.
"We should not rest easy", he said.
"The Trump administration's action to roll back this egregious government overreach into the most innovative space will benefit all users of the internet. What I want is for everyone to come to the table to find a bipartisan, legislative solution that will protect consumers while not harming investment, and free-market principles".
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, has been investigating what appear to be large numbers of fake public comments submitted to the FCC during the net neutrality comment period. Today's misguided FCC action represents a radical departure that risks erosion of the biggest free speech platform the world has ever known.
The meeting was evacuated before the vote for about 10 minutes due to an unspecified security threat, and resumed after law enforcement with sniffer dogs checked the room. The FCC commissioners were reportedly escorted out through a back door.