Today the Republican-led FCC voted 2-1 to roll back a 2015 decision to regulate Internet providers with Title II utility style regulations developed in the 1930’s for telecom companies. FCC Chair Pai commented that “this is the first step in returning to the light-touch regulatory approach that yielded the broadband internet. Light-touch regulation has a proven track record of protecting consumers while promoting competition and investment in broadband networks and maximizing innovation.”
The proposal also proposes to repeal the “general conduct” rule that allows the FCC to investigate business practices of Internet providers, and will debate the rules for blocking and slowing of websites, as well as rules forbidding Internet providers from charging web sites extra fees.
The vote today enables the FCC to begin to take public comments on their formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which will most likely be revised before a final vote later in 2017.
The FCC's lone Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, said “the end-game will be no-touch regulation, and a wholesale destruction of the FCC’s public interest authority in the 21st century.”
We hope this NPRM results in a transparent, spirited debate of the rules which ultimately provides a level playing field for all participants and ensures that American broadband is open, innovative and very competitive.