FCC To Publish Net Neutrality Rule Reversal

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Ahead of legal challenges, FCC expected to publish its December order overturning Net Neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to publish on Thursday its controversial order made in December to overturn the net neutrality rules in the United States.

The publication of the document is required in the Federal Register, a US government website, before state attorney generals and advocacy groups can launched their own legal challenges to halt the FCC’s action.

The FCC, under the leadership of republican chairman Ajit Pai, voted 3-2 in December to overturn Net Neutrality regulations, in a move that many feel could damage the future of an open Internet in the United States.

john oliver hbo fcc net neutrality

Net Neutrality

The landmark net neutrality rules had been delivered under the former Obama administration, and essentially it barred service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

The FCC’s reversal of those rules had been driven by Pai (appointed by President Trump), who has made no secret of his intention to remove the Obama era net neutrality rules.

Yet the overturning of the net neutrality rules had been as opposed by many in the tech industry and beyond. Indeed, such was the fallout from the decision, that Pai in January this year unexpectedly cancelled an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas because of death threats.

And now according to Reuters, which cited two sources, the FCC order will be published this Thursday.

It is known that a number of advocacy groups and US states are prepared to sue the FCC over the reversal, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Votes Needed

But it should be noted that at the moment, the net neutrality rules still apply in the US, despite the FCC vote. Apparently, the White House Office of Management and Budget still must sign off on some aspects of the FCC reversal before it takes legal effect.

And the reversal will also have to go for a vote in the US Congress, and then the House of Representatives, where the Republicans hold a larger majority than in Congress.

However, if the vote reversal fails to gain the needed votes, it is likely to pushed through anyway because of a likely veto by President Donald Trump.

Pai has previously said net neutrality were “a mistake” and he favoured a ‘light touch’ regime of regulation that would ‘not stifle innovation’.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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