FCC releases final 'Restoring Internet Freedom' proposal to end net neutrality

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, released the final proposal to reverse net neutrality rules Nov. 22 as part of his tentative agenda for the agency's December meeting.

The meeting, scheduled Dec. 14 and open to the public, will take place at the FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C. The meeting will consider Mr. Pai's proposal — a declaratory ruling; report and order; and order called "Restoring Internet Freedom" — among other items on the agenda.

Established in 2015, the Obama-era rules known as "net neutrality" prohibit broadband companies from prioritizing or blocking some content over others. They also prevent internet service providers from charging additional fees for select services, such as high-quality streaming.

In his proposal, Mr. Pai called the net neutrality regulations "heavy-handed" and said they discouraged broadband development. "Broadband investment has fallen for two years in a row — the first time that that's happened outside a recession in the internet era," reads an FCC fact sheet accompanying the proposal.

The proposal would enact "light-touch regulation" over broadband companies by eliminating the internet conduct standard implemented under net neutrality rules. Instead, the FCC would adopt transparency requirements and provide the Federal Trade Commission authority to protect consumers from anticompetitive practices.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet," Mr. Pai said in a Nov. 21 statement. "Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate."

To access the "Restoring Internet Freedom" proposal, click here.

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