David Shepardson, Reuters:
The head of the Federal Communications Commission is set to unveil plans next week for a final vote to reverse a landmark 2015 net neutrality order barring the blocking or slowing of web content, two people briefed on the plans said.
In May, the FCC voted 2-1 to advance Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to withdraw the former Obama administration’s order reclassifying internet service providers as if they were utilities. Pai now plans to hold a final vote on the proposal at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting, the people said, and roll out details of the plans next week.
The FCC is currently in Republican hands; today, they voted to lift regulations that prevent broadcasters and newspapers from common ownership in the same market. According to Shepardson, the FCC also plans to vote in December to lift rules preventing any single media company from owning television stations reaching 39% of households. The cumulative effect of this push to lift sensible regulations will likely be catastrophic for independent media and diverse viewpoints. It fundamentally rots the very idea of a free and independent press, and is ruinous for a healthy democracy.
It’s worth pointing out that rescinding net neutrality regulations is not what Americans want. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:
The FCC voted in May to take public comment on a preliminary proposal to overturn the 2015 net neutrality order. With the public comment period now over, Pai is free to push through a final vote.
The public comments were dominated by spam and form letters, but a study funded by ISPs found that 98.5 percent of unique comments were written by people who want the FCC to leave the rules in place.
Statistically, if you’re American, you favour preserving these regulations. Ajit Pai and the other Republican commissioners at the FCC are currently planning to vote against the will and want of an overwhelming majority of Americans. That’s outrageous.