News Worms
News Worms

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Urges ISPs to Comply With Open Internet Principles

Net neutrality advocates worry that internet service providers might unfairly discriminate content.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has shared more details on his plans to change net neutrality rules, which will essentially revert to their state before a 2015 order that defined ISPs as common carriers. During the Obama administration, the FCC wrote strong net neutrality protections into law, essentially subjecting the nation's telecom industry to utility-like regulation.

Reuters said that Pai discussed his preliminary plan with "major telecommunications trade groups" but did not identify which ones.

The FTC argues in its letter to the Ninth Circuit that because "the FCC privacy rules never became effective and are now null and void, they can not mitigate the regulatory gap discussed by the FTC in its petition".

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Pai - who was appointed by Trump to lead the USA media and telecoms regulator in late January - said that the USA is now in the process of returning to the style of regulation that produced "tremendous innovation and investment" throughout the internet ecosystem.

Pai wants the service providers to commit in writing to net neutrality principles and even include these provisions in their terms of service, which would make them binding, reported Reuters.

AT&T fought and won a lawsuit against the FTC in 2016 that found common carriers are exempt from being governed by Section Five of the FTC Act, which gives the FTC the ability to prevent corporations from using "unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce". Pai's plans could begin to be adopted as soon as the FCC's monthly meeting in May, although the June meeting remains possibility, according to one person familiar with the matter.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said if the reports are accurate "we are gearing up for a battle that could eviscerate the widely supported open Internet protections".

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Broadband providers appealed the rules in court but have so far not been successful in getting them overturned.

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler used Title II to try to limit zero-rating plans in which ISPs charge content providers for data cap exemptions.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Trump signed a bill reversing internet privacy rules requiring internet providers to obtain their customers' consent before sharing or selling their browsing information and other data.

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