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President Donald Trump’s administration is one step closer to killing an Obama-era regulation known as “net neutrality.”
The Federal Communications Commission — which sets the country’s rules on TV, phone, internet and radio access and pricing — announced Tuesday that it will vote Dec. 14 on a new proposal to repeal net neutrality. And it’s expected to pass, the New York Times reports.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he would publicly release the proposal, titled “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” on Wednesday. He did not specify a time.
Net neutrality proponents argue that only internet services providers, or ISPs, would benefit from repealing net neutrality. For everyone else, they say, the quality and cost of internet service potentially hangs in the balance.
What is net neutrality
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for digital privacy rights and free speech, defines net neutrality simply:
“the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services”
In “Why Net Neutrality Is Important,” Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson details how net neutrality impacts how you experience the internet — and how much you pay to access it. He begins:
“If you’re a huge internet service provider, such as Comcast, AT&T or Verizon, you’re a ‘gatekeeper’ because before any internet traffic reaches your subscribers, it has to first travel through your network. And because you control the network, it’s tempting to slow down — even block — the content of your competitors, or make extra money by collecting a fee from content providers willing to pay for faster downloads.
“In other words, even though you’re already charging your customers for access to the internet, if the content they want to see doesn’t make you money, you’d like the option of making it harder for them to see it. For example, if you’re Comcast, you might make it faster to stream your pay-per-view movies rather than those of your competitors, such as Netflix.”
To learn more about net neutrality and Pai’s stance on it, also check out “What Trump’s New Man at the FCC Means for Net Neutrality and Your Cell Bill.”
What the FCC’s proposal means for you
While the case for net neutrality is well-documented, no one can say for sure what this latest attempt to repeal net neutrality entails until the FCC makes it publicly available.
In his announcement Tuesday, Pai said:
“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.”
Let us know how you feel about net neutrality by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.
If you really want to weigh in on this fight, though, consider writing to or calling your federal elected officials. If you’re unsure who they are, check out USA.gov’s “How to Contact Your Elected Officials” webpage.