The FCC Order Gutting Net Neutrality Takes Effect Today - Cue Protests

Jo Lloyd
February 23, 2018

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to repeal net neutrality rules on April 23.

With Orwellian rhetorical flourish, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today published the "Restoring Internet Freedom" rule, which rolled back Net Neutrality in a party line vote past year. We get the impression these releases were a strategic move to allow FCC Chairperson Ajit Pai an understanding of what the legal challenges would be, and therefore the opportunity to strengthen the aforementioned order against any lawsuits.

The approval of Pai's proposal marked a victory for internet service providers like AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc and hands them power over what content consumers can access.

"We won't waste a minute in our fight to protect net neutrality because it's our mission to ensure the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all", she wrote.

The battle to save net neutrality is about to heat back up. It relies on the core principle of net neutrality (that all internet traffic be treated equally) to exist. The lawsuit was filed by Balderas and the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Speaking at the February 22 public meeting at which the item was adopted, FCC chair Ajit Pai said the change would make the agency an ally rather than impediment to innovation, and would goose what he called "regulatory inertia".

Regardless, several initiatives are underway in Congress and at state and local governmental levels to reinstate the 2015 Net-neutrality rules, supported by President Obama and passed by a Democrat-led FCC. Federal Communications Commission, 18-1054 and State of NY v.

Net neutrality supporters in Congress are also now able to try to overturn the repeal through legislation.

How this all shakes out remains to be seen. Twenty-three Democratic attorneys general later joined the fray. Advocacy group Free Press recently reported 25 states have introduced bills that would allow the states to enforce net neutrality protections on behalf of their citizens.

Yet the overturning of the net neutrality rules had been as opposed by many in the tech industry and beyond.

As it now stands net neutrality ensures that internet providers won't be able to block or limit access to content by offering paid workarounds. "Either way, our coalition of AGs is taking the FCC to court to challenge its illegal rollback of net neutrality".

More: Net neutrality rules threaten to rewind the Internet back to 2014.

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