FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules, a milestone for Republican deregulation push - LA Times
“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new powers,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-member FCC who voted against the repeal.
“They will have the power to block websites, the power to throttle services and the power to censor online content,” she said. “They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have a pay-for-play arrangement and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road.”
Protestors Rally At FCC Against Repeal Of Net Neutrality Rules
Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communication Commission building Thursday to protest the repeal of net nutrality rules. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
The FCC’s net neutrality rules prohibited AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other broadband and wireless internet service providers from selling faster delivery of certain data, slowing speeds for specific video streams and other content, and blocking or otherwise discriminating against any legal online material.
To enforce the rules, the FCC classified broadband as a more highly regulated utility-like service under Title 2 of federal telecommunications law.
Telecom companies praised the repeal, while saying they are committed to the principles of net neutrality and have no plans to change their practices.
The FCC vote “does not mark the ‘end of the Internet as we know it;’ rather it heralds in a new era of light regulation that will benefit consumers,” said David L. Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive vice president.
But the companies have hedged on whether they would start charging additional fees to transport video streams or other content at a higher speed through their network in a practice known as paid prioritization.
Pai has said paid prioritization could accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles and home health monitoring, which would need reliably fast service.
But net neutrality supporters worry telecom companies will set up toll lanes on the internet, cutting deals with some websites to deliver their content faster and squeezing out start-ups and small companies that lack the money to pay for faster service.