Proposed Changes to Internet Rules to be Voted on in December by FCC

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - The FCC will be voting on a draft titled Restoring Internet Freedom Order in mid-December, which is aimed at repealing many of the laws set during the Obama Administration in 2015.

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement on the draft that was released on Nov.21st, it reads as follows:

    “For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress.  This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States.  And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.

    “But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama.  On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet.  That decision was a mistake.  It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation. 

    “Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades.  Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet.  Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate. 

    “Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015.  Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.

    “Speaking of transparency, when the prior FCC adopted President Obama’s heavy-handed Internet regulations, it refused to let the American people see that plan until weeks after the FCC’s vote.  This time, it’ll be different.  Specifically, I will publicly release my proposal to restore Internet freedom tomorrow—more than three weeks before the Commission’s December 14 vote.

    “Working with my colleagues, I look forward to returning to the light-touch, market-based framework that unleashed the digital revolution and benefited consumers here and around the world.”    

    FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr also released a statement in favor of the proposed plan. That statement reads in full: 

    “Today, the Chairman circulated a draft order that would restore Internet freedom by reversing the Obama-era FCC’s regulatory overreach.  Prior to the FCC’s 2015 decision, consumers and innovators alike benefited from a free and open Internet because the FCC abided by a 20-year, bipartisan consensus that the government should not control or heavily regulate Internet access.  The Internet flourished under this framework.  So I fully support returning to this approach, which will promote innovation and investment for the benefit of all Americans.  I look forward to casting my vote in support of Internet freedom.”

    Critics of this plan are worried about losing the freedom of the Internet and being policed by the FTC. Pricing is also a factor for many against the plan. According to ABC News, companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix have shown their distaste in the plan, while Verizon said that it is in favor of it.

    From the Associated Press, "Among those that will be hit hardest are startups that depend on high-speed internet connections for growth, said Colin Angle, co-founder and CEO of iRobot, maker of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaners. He said his own company wouldn't be dramatically affected in the near term, but the nascent robotics industry overall might.

    "The need for these robots to consume bandwidth is certainly on the rise," Angle said.

    Google said in a statement that net neutrality rules "are working well for consumers and we're disappointed in the proposal announced today."

    Regardless, the statement released by Carr and Pai have sparked debates all across the web.

    The vote will happen on December 14th. It has been stated that the full plan will be released publicly tomorrow, three weeks prior to the vote.

    A full list of releases from the FCC can be found on their website.

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