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FCC votes to begin the process of repealing net neutrality rules

Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission today voted 2-to-1 in favor of opening the debate on reversing the net neutrality rules that were put up by the regulator just two years ago.

In its decision, the commission is opening debate on two essential points: first, on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to reverse the Title II classification for internet service providers; second, whether FCC should impose regulations to enforce net neutrality at all.

For the next 90 days, the public, as well as companies and interest groups, will be able to file their comments and thoughts with the FCC.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai elaborated:

"Today, we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the Internet. We propose to return to the Clinton-era light-touch framework that has proven to be successful. And we propose to put technologists and engineers, rather than lawyers and accountants, at the center of the online world."

"Today’s Notice is the start of a new chapter in the public discussion about how we can best maintain a free and open Internet while making sure that ISPs have strong incentives to bring next generation networks and services to all Americans."

Once the comment period closes later this year, the FCC will go through the feedback it received over the 90-day period and prepare a final proposal. In the end, the commission will vote once again to adopt the final proposal – for, or against, net neutrality.

Pai also reiterated that "this is the beginning of the process, not the end" and that the FCC will not rely “on hyperbolic statements about the end of the Internet as we know it and 140-character commentary, but on the data”. He also added that the FCC aims to “conduct a credible cost-benefit analysis of [its] policy decisions”, which “simply wasn't done back in 2015”.

If the Title II regulatory classification is reversed later this year, the FCC will lose its power to enforce net neutrality rules on Internet service providers, making the existing net neutrality rules ineffective.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, TechCrunch via Ars Technica | Image: Reason TV (YouTube)

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