FCC to Soon Begin Process of Getting Rid of Net Neutrality Rules

Marlene Weaver
February 23, 2018

The order reclassified the Internet as an "information service", compared to the agency's 2015 net neutrality order, which regulated the Internet as a public monopoly.

A quick look at the webpage of the Federal Register shows that the order axing net neutrality will be published Thursday, and, according to Reuters, that will give those opposed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's vision of the internet a chance to fight back.

The FCC plan includes a provision barring state and local governments from enacting any net neutrality laws or rules on their own. A coalition of 22 state attorneys general, plus the consumer groups Public Knowledge, Free Press and New America's Open Technology Institute, among others, filed a barrage of early lawsuits in January, and are expected to re-file these suits seeking to block the order from taking effect today.

Before December's vote, the attorneys general of almost 20 states asked the FCC to delay its decision based on evidence that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commissions' notice of the proposed rule change.

If net neutrality is lost, internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon could create special "fast lanes" for content providers willing to pay more. They've secured 50 votes in the Senate, one shy of the simple majority the measure would need in that chamber.

Even if Democrats could win a majority in the Senate, a repeal would also require winning a vote in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a larger majority, and would still be subject to a likely veto by President Donald Trump.

The Republican-led FCC voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules, which aimed to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

The repeal is likely to pass the Republican-controlled House, though an aggressive opposition movement amongst Senate Democrats could slow its passage. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter supported the rules. That happened today, and barring any intervention from Congress, net neutrality rules are kaput in two months.

But governors in Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey and NY have signed orders pledging to do business only with internet providers that abide by net neutrality rules.

Other reports by Insurance News

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