FCC Declares Complete Repeal of Net Neutrality Regulations

The rules prohibited high-speed internet service providers from blocking or throttling content or charging extra fees for the best video streaming quality.

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai this week recommended the agency fully dismantle Obama-era net neutrality regulations, delivering a major victory for the telecom industry in the long-running policy debate.

Eliminating the landmark regulations would allow internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to some websites and charge others for faster delivery of their content to consumers, although telecommunications companies have said they have no plans to do so, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The security industry is in favor of net neutrality in order to protect current and future video services provided over the internet. If ISPs are allowed to throttle traffic, for example, then that could potentially allow ISPs to throttle security video services.

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) coordinates industry interaction with Congress and the FCC on this issue.

Tuesday’s decision by Pai, a Republican appointed by President Trump, ​set off another round in a hotly contested dispute over whether the government should be actively involved in assuring the unrestricted flow of information on the internet or leave it to market forces. The decision pits telecom giants like AT&T against internet giants like Google and Amazon, who warn against powerful telecom gatekeepers. Both sides are expected to lobby hard in Washington to push their agendas, as they did when the existing rules were adopted.

First put in place by the Obama administration, the rules prohibited high-speed ISPs from blocking or slowing down the delivery of websites, or charging extra fees for the best quality of streaming and other internet services for their subscribers. Those limits are central to the concept called net neutrality.

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Pai said in a statement. “Instead, the FCC would simply require ISPs 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.”

The FCC is expected to repeal the rules in a vote scheduled for Dec. 14. Under Pai’s plan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would resume policing ISPs for online privacy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

AT&T, other telecom companies and industry trade groups sued to block the rules in 2014, arguing the FCC exceeded its authority in approving the regulations.

Last year, a federal appeals court upheld the regulations. The ruling could make it difficult for the FCC to repeal the net neutrality rules, and public interest groups are expected to challenge the move in court.

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