FCC Votes to Roll Back Net Neutrality Rules

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Still, Democrats in Congress are reportedly preparing for a big fight to maintain the open internet, and activist energies did help to create these regulations in the first place back in 2014. That would be followed by another round of reply comments before a rule can be finalized, likely some time in the fall.

Net neutrality advocates are already preparing a legal challenge, said Gigi Sohn, once a senior counselor to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who shepherded through the regulations two years ago. It also calls for the elimination of the "internet conduct standard" included in the 2015 Title II order, and seeks comment on the existing rules governing ISPs' practices.

In addition to overturning the utility designation on ISPs, the plan is to return to the Commission's original classification of mobile broadband internet access service as a private mobile service, releasing mobile operators from the additional rules.

Most notably, the FCC used that Title II authority to preemptively ban ISPs from blocking, slowing the speeds of, or prioritizing certain traffic on their network for financial gain.

Ed Black of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represents major tech firms, said the FCC was moving against the public interest. On that front, many ISPs say they support net neutrality provisions and agree that those behaviors shouldn't be tolerated. Parenthetically, some pro net-neutrality demonstrators outside the FCC headquarters in Washington today who apparently also favor a free and open Internet also demanded through their signs the censorship of Infowars, Breitbart, and the Drudge Report websites, the Washington Free Beacon noted.

Regulators began dismantling Obama-era net neutrality rules with a vote on Thursday, opening the way to fewer restrictions on broadband providers and raising web companies' fears they'll face barriers to reaching customers.

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On the rules review, the Commission said, "The FCC's action invites public comment on which media rules should be modified or eliminated as unnecessary or burdensome". Pai doesn't see this as a debate over net neutrality. The basic idea is that internet service providers shouldn't be allowed to treat traffic on their networks differently based on the source or type of content. Supporters of net neutrality think that there should be rules to keep, for instance, AT&T from providing preferential treatment to streaming video from DirecTV, which it owns, giving itself an advantage while harming other businesses and their customers.

Mignon Clyburn, the agency's sole Democrat, offered what she called a vociferous dissent, calling the proposal "a political rush job".

But what about net neutrality? .

It's unclear if anyone actually made such a comment in good faith, though all of the replies, from the dozens of people ZDNet reached out to, said they never made an FCC comment.

Meanwhile, proponents of the current rules staged a protest outside the FCC pledging to garner public support against their revocation.

The attack comes the FCC claimed last week that its website was being hit with multiple distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). They were upheld previous year by a three-judge panel.

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