Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

Pai has called the net neutrality rules a mistake that "injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market".

Changing the net neutrality that is as per his liking is the latest regulatory rollback for Pai who is in office only since January.

Broadband providers and Republican lawmakers have opposed the rules, saying the reclassification adds unnecessary regulation that deters deployment and other investment in their networks.

The FCC moved to impose the no-blocking, no-throttling and no-discrimination rules on Internet service providers under former Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler and, as a Republican commissioner, Pai voted against the 2015 rules. Instead, Pai has indicated that he wants to replace the hard rules with "voluntary commitments" by large ISPs that they'll remain on their best behavior.

Pai told reporters Thursday he has been meeting with major internet companies and trade groups to discuss ways of protecting an open internet.

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The Internet Association, a group representing Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and others, met with Pai this month and said "the internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online", according to a letter filed with the FCC.

Pai did not give a specific date but said it will be for Class C and D stations, and the necessary IT work is being done now and it's going well.

Citing four sources close to Pai, Recode reported that the process to overturn the rules will start tomorrow. Every indication is that Chairman Pai is on the verge of announcing the details of his plan to gut net neutrality, an assault which would be the capstone of an agenda riddled with industry giveaways at the expense of consumers, competition, and small business. "Past year the United States experienced the first decline in broadband investment outside of a recession", Pai said in a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, as cited by Tech Crunch.

For the moment, though, there's no net-neutrality development to rally around, and won't be until there's an actual FCC proposal up for debate. In simple words, internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T, Charter, and Verizon are not allowed to slow down or block internet traffic.

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