Today the head of the FCC announced a plan to undo the Title II classification of internet service providers that happened a few years ago. The current FCC wants to return the internet the management that it had before the Obama administration changed it to Title II a few years ago.
During a speech at the Newseum in Washington hosted by FreedomWorks and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council. Pai the head of the FCCs said the thought the days of Title II were numbered, and that countdown could begin May 18 (the date of the meeting).
Just to be clear this does NOT necessarily mean the end of net neutrality. Currently the FCC is asking for comment on how to address net neutrality.
Here is what is happening:
1) “Proposing to return the classification of broadband service from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service— in short that returns the internet to the light-touch regulation drawn from the Clinton Administration;
2) “proposing to eliminate the so-called Internet conduct standard,” which he called a “roving mandate to micromanage the Internet”
3) Seeking comment on what to do about the “so-called bright-line rules adopted in 2015,” which are no blocking or throttling of content and no paid prioritization.”
In short moving internet service providers to Title I does NOT necessarily mean the end to net neutrality.
“Repealing Title II will simply restore the FTC’s authority to police broadband providers’ privacy practices,” he said. “That
means the nation’s most expert and experienced privacy regulator will once again be a cop on the beat protecting Americans’ online privacy. In short, we will return to the tried-and-true approach that protected our digital privacy effectively before 2015.”
“The next thing you’ll hear is that Title II is necessary to protect free speech,” he said. “That’s right: some will argue that government control is the key to the ability to speak your mind on the Internet. Most Americans should recognize this absurdity for what it is. For government regulation is no friend to
free speech, but its enemy.”
“And where do the people who are driving this closing of the American mind stand on greater government regulation of the Internet? They don’t just favor it; they strongly demand it. They raise money off of it. And we are somehow supposed to believe that their true motive is to protect free speech on the Internet? Please. ”
Pai told his audience that the choice was clear: “Do we want the government to control the Internet? Or do we want to embrace the light-touch approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress in 1996 and repeatedly reaffirmed by Democratic and Republican FCCs alike?
“Do we want to discourage the private sector from investing more in building and expanding networks? Or do we want to encourage more investment in online infrastructure and enable more Americans to have digital opportunity? Do we want to have fewer Americans employed? Or do we want to put more Americans to work building next-generation networks?”
“Do we want rules that encourage broadband monopolies? Or do we want rules that promote competition and more options for consumers?”
“And do we want Americans’ broadband privacy to be protected by an uncertain legal regime? Or do we want to empower the FTC to protect Americans’ privacy consistently and comprehensively?”
“When the FCC rammed through the Title II Order two years ago, I expressed hope that we would look back at that vote “as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path that ha[d] served us so well.” And I voiced my confidence that the Title II Order’s days were already numbered.
“At the FCC’s next meeting on May 18, we will take a significant step towards making that prediction a reality. And later this year, I am confident that we will finish the job. Make no mistake about it: this is a fight that we intend to wage and it is a fight that we are going to win.”
For now we will have to wait until May 19th to find out exactly how this will be implemented.
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