Silicon Valley giants oppose FCC plan to repeal Net Neutrality
- Author: Fernando Stephens Nov 22, 2017,
Nov 22, 2017, 0:38
Regulations that created net neutrality prohibited this behavior.
The regulation survived a court challenge from broadband providers previous year.
If the ownership cap is eased, as expected, by the Republican-controlled, 5-member commission, it would be a boost to Sinclair Broadcast Group as it looks to close its $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media. The NCTA - The Internet & Television Association said over the summer that it supports net neutrality but does not believe that the current regulations promote it.
US President Donald Trump's administration has vowed to cancel hundreds of Obama-era regulations in as part of a push to lift restrictions on the private sector.
The FCC will vote on the plan to repeal net neutrality on December 14, and with Republicans controlling three out of the commission's five seats, the vote is expected to pass. Pai's FCC spiked the effort to go after AT&T, even before it began rolling out a plan to undo the net neutrality rules entirely. "If you like your cable company, you'll love what this does for the Internet, because it gives Internet service providers the same kind of control over content and price as cable operators have today".
Pai's attack on net neutrality has triggered protests from consumer groups and internet companies. The principle was born as regulators, consumer advocates and internet companies voiced concern about what broadband companies could do with their power as the gateway to the internet - blocking or slowing down apps that rival their own services, for example.
Instead, the FCC, under Pai's suggestion, would return to the "light-touch, market-based framework that unleashed the digital revolution and benefited consumers here and around the world", the chairman said in a statement.
NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, a trade group with members including top US cable provider Comcast and No. 2 Charter Communications Inc., said it welcomed Pai's proposal.
But critics say the end of net neutrality would spell bad news for consumers, as well as for free speech.
The days of net neutrality are numbered. In place of the existing rules, he added, the FCC would "simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices".
Senator Brian Schatz also shared his thoughts on the plan saying, "If adopted, the FCC's plan will change the way every American gets information, watches movies, listens to music, conducts business and talks to their families".
Pai, who has repeatedly rejected claims that the FCC is making rules changes with Sinclair in mind, said the review will include public input.
"Net neutrality is the idea that the internet should be free and open for everyone", said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.