Today, reports surfaced that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai outlined his plans for rolling back the 2015 Open Internet Order that created strong net neutrality rules. These rules currently prevent broadband providers from blocking websites, throttling internet connections for subscribers and engaging in paid prioritization deals. Public Knowledge opposes any plan to repeal or weaken these rules.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“If these reports are true, Chairman Pai is preparing to give dominant cable and telecommunications companies what their D.C. lobbyists have dreamed of for years: voluntary net neutrality ‘rules’ where consumer protection is no more than ‘trust your cable or internet provider.’
“Net neutrality protections have enjoyed the support of a majority of Americans who want the freedom to access the entire internet they pay for — one without blocking or paid fast lanes for companies and users that can afford the toll. Federal courts have upheld the current rules and investment in the internet economy has continued under them to the tune of billions of dollars. Chairman Pai and President Trump’s interest in eliminating these simple protections is their latest attempt to take a weed wacker to basic consumer protections, following the repeal of broadband privacy rules.
“FCC policing of an open internet has protected broadband consumers and opened the door for exciting new services and businesses. The FCC is best situated to tailor consumer protection to the specific facts of internet access — for instance, where lack of competition leaves households with little or no broadband choice.
“Replacing clear rules of the road with a voluntary system where broadband providers decide ahead of time what rules they would like to follow and when they can change those rules would unilaterally open the door to massive market abuses including unreasonably low data caps, inflated prices for some content and preferring cable/broadband content over smaller, independent competitors.”
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