Net neutrality - live updates: Politicians prepare to fight against FCC's decision to scrap rules protecting internet freedoms

Aatif Sulleyman
San Francisco
,Jeremy B. White
Thursday 14 December 2017 14:32
Net Neutrality: Ajit Pai and FCC scraps online regulation changing how the internet works

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the direction of President Trump, has voted to repeal Obama-era rules governing net neutrality.

The five-person board has voted in favour of ending net neutrality, a decision that could have a huge effect on the way the internet works.

Supporters of net neutrality say the move could open the door for internet service providers (ISPs) to charge customers more and dictate what people use the internet for.

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Immediately after the vote, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he intended to file a legal challenge against the vote. It is unlikely to be the last.

ISPs greeted the news warmly, but Senator Ed Markey a Democrat from Massachusetts said he would be looking to introduce an act in Congress calling for a review of the FCC decision. he labelled it a "historic mistake".


The FCC looks set to completely change the way the internet works in the US, by killing off net neutrality.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 13:13

Net neutrality prevents ISPs from blocking content or slowing down connections for people attempting to access certain sites, apps and services.

Without the rules, they won’t have to treat all internet traffic equally, and will be able to prioritise certain websites and services over others.

Supporters of net neutrality say this will result in ISPs carving the internet into "fast and slow lanes", and customers being charged more. 

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 13:20

The end of net neutrality could also have a huge impact on innovation and competition. 

For instance, ISPs that have their own video services could choose to slow down customers’ connections when they tried to use a competing service, such as Netflix.

Such a move would completely ruin the Netflix user experience and drive customers to faster sites, even if their content library wasn't as good.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 13:27

“Consumers will benefit from greater investment in digital infrastructure, which will create jobs, increase competition, and lead to better, faster, and cheaper internet access — especially in rural America,” wrote FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by Donald Trump, last month.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 13:41

Here’s what some people believe internet packages in the US could look like in the future, if net neutrality is ended. 

Portuguese telecoms provider MEO has split its mobile plans in such a manner that customers need to pay for up to five addons, in order to be able to use a selection of popular apps that many people rely on every day without incurring heavy penalty fees.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 13:54

A poll conducted by the University of Maryland this week has found that 82.9 per cent of Americans oppose the FCC’s proposal to reverse the net neutrality regulations, while 15.5 per cent favour it. 1.6 per cent either don’t know or refused to answer. 

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 14:42

The big meeting is set to get underway in 15 minutes.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 15:15

“Welcome to the December 2017 meeting of the FCC,” says Ajit Pai, kicking off proceedings.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 15:33

The Open Right Group’s Jim Killock believes that Europe will be next if the US votes to repeal the net neutrality rules today. 

“If the USA removes protection for net neutrality, Europe will be next,” he told the Independent. “European net neutrality protections are already insufficiently strong, and are already being abused by mobile providers selling data packages that favour sites like Facebook over their competitors. 

“Facebook doesn’t need extra help to dominate the market. The EU needs to step up and protect values of openness and competition that Trump’s government are busy abandoning.”

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 15:46

The FCC, by the way, is currently discussing the BLU Alert system, designed to warn people when law enforcement officials are under threat in the local area.

aatif.sulleyman14 December 2017 15:51

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