Net neutrality rules have an official end date

May 12, 2018 by Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules will take effect in a month, it announced Thursday.

The net neutrality regulations, established in 2015, are meant to ensure all traffic is treated equally. They prohibit internet service providers from creating slow and fast lanes online, and from engaging in preferential treatment of some content over others.

The rules were a culmination of years of legal and political battles over online traffic amid the rise of the internet and as it grew to be indispensable.

"On June 11, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for nearly 20 years will be restored," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement Thursday.

Pai, a Republican, voted against the Open Internet Rules in 2015 as a commissioner of the FCC. After he was appointed FCC chairman by President Donald Trump, Pai set out to repeal the rules. The Republican-majority FCC voted to do just that in a partisan 3-2 vote in December, after a record number of Americans weighed in during the public comment period.

"The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land," said Jessica Rosenworcel, the sole remaining Democratic commissioner in the FCC, in a statement Thursday. "The agency turned a blind eye to serious problems in its process—from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in its files."

There were charges that bots were among the millions of commenters to the agency.

The FCC's announcement comes ahead of a Senate effort to overturn the repeal. Wednesday, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, launched an effort to force a vote in the Senate. That vote could come as soon as next week.

"The Senate must act NOW and pass my resolution to save the internet as we know it," Markey said in a tweet Thursday after learning of the FCC announcement.

In a later tweet, Markey said: "Next week, when we force a vote on my resolution to save #NetNeutrality, every senator will have to go on record on how they see the internet: a dynamic, diverse, democratic space that fosters innovation, or just another market for massive corporations to control."

The FCC is also facing lawsuits from nearly two dozen state attorneys general who oppose the repeal of the rules.

The FCC's repeal, titled Restoring Internet Freedom Order, was adopted in December. Pai said Thursday that the June 11 effective date should give internet providers time to comply with a new transparency rule included in the order. The transparency rule requires ISPs to state whether they block or throttle any content, and whether they engage in paid prioritization.

Explore further: FCC chairman sets out to repeal 'net neutrality' rules

30 shares

Related Stories

FCC chairman sets out to repeal 'net neutrality' rules

November 21, 2017

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is following through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally.

Top tech lobby joins legal battle to keep 'net neutrality'

January 6, 2018

The lobby group for some of the most powerful US tech firms said Friday it would join the legal challenge to the planned rollback of "net neutrality" rules requiring internet service providers to treat all online traffic ...

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

Recommended for you

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Kruleworlder
5 / 5 (1) May 13, 2018
Having state legislation for something that should be national is stupid, but probably inevitable at this point.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.