FCC reportedly plans December vote to overturn 'net neutrality' rules

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to hold a final vote on whether to reverse Obama-era net neutrality legislation during a Dec. 14 agency meeting, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Net neutrality rules, which were established in 2015, prohibit broadband companies from prioritizing or blocking some content over others. In May, the FCC voted 2-1 to advance Mr. Pai's proposal to reclassify internet service providers as utilities. The proposal would make this decision voluntary, allowing companies to select the types of content they provide at their own discretion.

Mr. Pai has previously stated he favors an "open internet," and views former President Barack Obama's order as unnecessary. Mr. Pai will likely drop net neutrality rules limiting "paid prioritization" by broadband companies, several industry experts hypothesized to Reuters. However, the sources indicated they expect him to maintain legal requirements related to transparency.

The proposal to overturn the legislation has garnered more than 22 million comments since Mr. Pai opened the proposal to public feedback in May. While some stakeholders, such as internet service providers AT&T and Comcast, agree with Mr. Pai, others worry the proposal would harm access to the internet for consumers and small businesses.

A group of major tech firms — including Facebook and Google's parent company, Alphabet — urged Mr. Pai to abandon his plan to overturn the legislation in July.

Mr. Pai is slated to unveil his plan for the final vote next week, according to the two sources. An FCC spokesperson declined Reuters' request for comment.

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