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United States: F.C.C. Is Said To Plan Repeal Of Net Neutrality Rules

The New York Times: The Federal Communications Commission is preparing a full repeal of net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to give consumers equal access to all content on the internet, putting more power in the hands of telecom companies to dictate people’s online experiences.

In a sweeping proposal to be revealed on Tuesday, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the F.C.C., plans to scrap the net neutrality rules that were created during the Obama administration, according to two people familiar with the plan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are not public. The rules prohibit broadband service providers from blocking, slowing down or charging more for the delivery of certain internet content.

Mr. Pai will also suggest that the Federal Trade Commission, which has traditionally not brought many cases, be the enforcement agency of net neutrality violations, the people said.

In addition, Mr. Pai plans to reverse a decision from the Obama administration that declared broadband be treated like a utility, a classification that opened the door to many more regulations for internet service providers, the people said.

Mr. Pai’s actions are a victory for telecom giants and are set to reignite lobbying battles between internet and telecom companies. The net neutrality rules were created in 2015 after numerous debates about the issue. On one side, telecom giants said the regulations encumbered their business plans, while on the other, tech giants like Google and Amazon argued the broadband providers could become gatekeepers of what internet content reached consumers.

During the Obama administration, the head of the F.C.C., Tom Wheeler, said net neutrality regulations were necessary to prevent a company like Verizon from slowing down the delivery of a service like Netflix or SlingTV, which competes with Verizon’s video service, FiOs.

The repeal will be presented in the December agency meeting of F.C.C. commissioners and is expected to pass in a 3-to-2 majority vote along party lines. Mr. Pai, who was appointed by President Trump, has called the net neutrality rules an example of government overreach in the fast-growing broadband industry. He said broadband providers increasingly compete with companies like Facebook and Google, which are also providing internet access but aren’t subject to regulation.

The F.C.C. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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