Network neutrality


Republicans Greg Walden, Bob Latta and Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent a letter to Frank Pallone Jr. and Mike Doyle, urging Democrats to support three Republican bills that they say would restore net neutrality principles. Both Democrats and Republicans agree on the necessity of net neutrality rules, but they disagree over whether broadband internet should be regulated as a utility-style service under the Title II of the Communications Act. According to the letter, “these are all reasonable and achievable proposals, and each gives us a path to protect consumers without invoking the heavy hand of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which would give the government unbridled power to tax the internet, institute costly fees, set prices and terms of plans, and even take control of assets”. 


According to a publication which sought to analyse a recent report titled ‘The Net Neutrality Situation in the EU’, the conclusion has been drawn that zero-rating business practices by wireless carriers have led to an increase in the cost of wireless data compared to countries without zero-rating practices.

The report published by the non-profit Epicenter.works compared 30 EU member countries on the enforcement of net neutrality. It was found that EU countries without zero-rating practices enjoyed a double digit drop in the price of wireless data after a year. The countries with zero-rating practises from their wireless carriers on the other hand saw data prices increase.

Source: Epicenter.works study analysing price changes between countries with and without zero-rating practices.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) faced difficult questioning from U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. A trio of appellate court judges are analysing if the agency had violated the law in repealing the government’s net neutrality rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) last year. According to FCC, the repealed rules raised the ISPs costs of doing business and discouraging them from upgrading their networks. This is the latest legal showdown in a serie of court battles over the net neutrality policies. It will now be up to the Court of Appeals to decide who is on the right side of the law.


One of the main justification of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for repealing net neutrality rules was based on the prediction that deregulation would boost broadband network investment. However, this prediction has not been turned into reality. In 2018, Charter, Verizon, and Comcast reduced capital expenditures. In an earnings announcement, Comcast said that its cable division decreased 3 percent less on capital expenditures last year. According to MoffettNathanson estimates cited in a Light Reading article, Charter and Comcast are both expected to reduce cable capital expenditures in 2019. 


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked court to postpone oral arguments, that are scheduled for 1 of February, in a case that will rule on a challenge to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal of net neutrality rules. As the FCC is partially shut down since 22 of December, 2018, the commision filed a motion asking to delay oral arguments in this case. But the appeals court denied the motion and the oral arguments will go on as scheduled on 1 of February.


In the USA, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order repealed the 2015 net neutrality order and restoring the classification of broadband Internet access service as a lightly-regulated information service. Since then, there is a battle to run back to the Obama-era net neutrality rules. In the Congress, Democrats won a vote to reverse the repeal in the Senate but weren't able to get enough votes in the House of Representatives before the end of its session today. In his statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that ‘I’m pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation.’ 




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