Net neutrality is on the FCC's chopping block

Republicans support gutting net neutrality on the grounds that it creates too much government regulation

Published November 21, 2017 8:08AM (EST)

 (Getty/Alex Wong)
(Getty/Alex Wong)

President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission is going to try to eliminate net neutrality next month.

On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will announce his specific plans for completely repealing the net neutrality regulations established by President Barack Obama, according to Politico. The FCC will vote on whether or not to adopt the new measures on Dec. 14, when the agency will hold its next meeting.

Pai's plan will include ending rules that ban internet service providers from creating paid fast internet fast lanes or deliberately blocking or slowing web traffic, eliminating the legal framework used to justify increasing federal regulation of internet service providers, and ask the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether internet service providers are stifling competition. It will also end the general conduct standard that held internet service providers to strict transparency rules, among them letting customers know about whether or not they block or throttle online traffic.

Because the current panel of FCC commissioners contains three Republicans and two Democrats, Pai's changes are expected to pass along party lines next month, according to The New York Times. As a result of these new policies, consumers may see their fees go up when trying to access certain websites or online services, as well as find that websites like AT&T and Comcast (which both opposed net neutrality) will show preferential treatment toward their own services.

Pai was appointed by Trump, whose opposition to net neutrality has been clear since November 2014. In that year, Trump tweeted, "Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Ajit Pai Barack Obama Donald Trump Fcc Federal Communications Commission Net Neutrality