California Lawmakers Vow to Fight 'Net Neutrality' Rollback

Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission at a meeting in Washington

Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal marks a victory for big internet service providers such as AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc that opposed the regulations - popularly known as net neutrality rules - and gives them sweeping powers to decide what web content consumers can access.

With net neutrality, ISPs cannot discriminate against certain content, applications, and platforms, nor can they charge users for quicker or exclusive access to internet services. Santa Clara County is one of many jurisdictions and groups - including attorneys general from several states - which announced plans on Thursday to file lawsuits against the FCC's decision.

Here's a brief explanation of what net neutrality is, why it was repealed and how Thursday's vote might affect our pocket and the Internet as we know it. And the Federal Trade Commission, the regulator that keeps the market free and fair, will keep them in line.

After the FCC released its plan in late November, well-known telecom and media analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson wrote in a note to investors that the FCC plan dismantles "virtually all of the important tenets of net neutrality itself". You have a service provider and pay a flat rate for access to the entire internet freely.

This meant that service providers had to treat all content the same. The president of the Senate tweeted today that he supports taking action. "We will fight the FCC's decisions in the courts, and we will fight it in the halls of Congress", Markey said in a statement.

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Net neutrality is not history in the United States, not yet. Following the news, however, it immediately began a steady climb upwards, and given the gravity of the FCC's decision, it's likely that we'll see a steady increase in the hours (or days) to come. "Today's action will seriously harm consumers, innovation and small businesses", Ferguson said in his statement.

Unfortunately, the moves in California could be precluded, as today's FCC order also sought to limit the states making their own rules about net neutrality.

In addition to Free Press's plan to sue the FCC, the group urged supporters to push Congress to nullify Pai's plan using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows representatives and senators to review new regulations and overrule them by passing a joint resolution.

"That speaks volumes about the direction the FCC is heading", said Clyburn.

"Net Neutrality is the nondiscrimination law of the internet", Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood said.


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