Net Neutrality has been a heavily contested point in the United States for years, with a potential short-lived win notched last year.
The FCC’s chairman, Ajit Pai, has circulated a draft order that would “restore internet freedom and eliminate heavy-handed internet regulations.” Pai has been adamant in his approach towards “opening” the internet and granting ISPs and companies more freedoms. This is an order that was initially proposed back in May of this year, which sparked plenty of attention at the time, and it would roll back the previous administration’s classification of internet service providers as “common carriers.”
Here is Pai’s comment:
“Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers 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.”
Pai aims to reclassify ISPs as “information service” providers. The change will mean a lot of things will be altered in the way that internet service providers can manage access to their services. As defined as a “common carrier,” ISPs were required to act as neutral gateways. This meant that they could not provide some services “fast lanes,” and at the same time make “slow lanes.” This means that a different company cannot pay an ISP more money to get faster access, while others, that may not be able to afford to compete in this regard, have their access slowed in comparison.
“For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.”
Many companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, have laid their claims in defense for internet protections. In August of this year, Apple released its own statement, asking for “strong, enforceable open internet protections.”
“An open internet ensures that hundreds of millions of consumers get the experience they want, over the broadband connections they choose, to use the devices they love, which have become an integral part of their lives.
At Apple, we build tools for productivity, entertainment, creation, and discovery. Since the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984, we have worked to create technology that empowers people to bring their ideas into reality. Today, macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS connect our users with ideas and information from around the world, and services like Apple Music, iTunes, iCloud, and our App Stores make it easy for them to find online music, TV, movies, and apps they love. Those connections and services depend on fair and open access to broadband services.”
This has been a long, drawn out battle for net neutrality, but, despite strong stances against the FCC’s proposal from tech companies and the public, it looks like the FCC will be moving forward with a repeal in next month’s vote anyway.
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