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FCC to Begin Dismantling Title II Net Neutrality

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May 18, 2017, 12:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today voted down party lines to begin the process of undoing the Title II designation that governs net neutrality. "The FCC is proposing to return to a regulatory framework that preserved a free and open internet for almost 20 years," said the agency on its Twitter feed. The previous FCC Commissioner, Tom Wheeler, installed the Title II designation and bright-line rules in 2015 in order to protect consumers from onerous business practices. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has long derided the decision and stated early in his tenure his intent to walk back the regulations. Today's vote doesn't immediately strip Title II from net neutrality, but it puts the ball in motion. The FCC wants to return to the Commission’s original classification of mobile broadband internet access service as a private mobile service, rather than a utility. The FCC intends to "eliminate the catch-all internet conduct standard created by the Title II Order. Because the Internet conduct standard is extremely vague and expansive, ISPs must guess at what they are permitted to do. Eliminating the Internet conduct standard is therefore expected to promote innovation and network investment by eliminating regulatory uncertainty." Last, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on the idea of eliminating the bright-line rules that define what mobile broadband providers can and cannot do, such as throttling, and paid prioritization schemes.




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