Net neutrality advocates “are gearing up for a battle” against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to repeal current rules and adopt a system whereby providers voluntarily agree to open internet principles.
According to numerous reports last week, Pai met with telecoms trade groups to talk about his plans to withdraw net neutrality rules adopted in 2015, and hand power to the internet providers.
He wants internet service providers (ISPs) to agree not to obstruct or slow consumer access to web content, and believes the country’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not the FCC, should be responsible for policing fair treatment of web traffic.
However, the proposal is already being met by staunch opposition, both within the FCC and from other groups supporting the open internet principle
FCC commissioner and Democrat Mignon Clyburn told Reuters if Pai pushed forward with the plan, “we are gearing up for a battle that could eviscerate the widely supported open internet protections”.
She added the rules “were built on a record of more than four million comments, and demonstrated that a free and open internet is at the very heart of our American democracy”.
Pai is yet to officially outline his plan, but is expected to do so later this month, with a vote then set for either May or June.
The FCC chairman is also reportedly due to meet with the Internet Association, a pro net neutrality trade group which counts like the likes of Alphabet, Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft among its members, tomorrow.
In a statement to Recode, a representative for the association said: “Internet companies are ready to fight to maintain strong net neutrality protections in any forum. ISPs must not be allowed to meddle with people’s right to access content and services online and efforts to weaken net neutrality rules are bad for consumers and innovation.”