US FCC moves to restore net neutrality

The proposal aims to ensure equal access to all content and applications without favouring or blocking specific sources.

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The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to reinstate crucial net neutrality rules and assert new regulatory control over broadband internet, a move reversing the policies enacted under former President Donald Trump, announced FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. The commission plans to finalise the rule reinstatement during its 25 April meeting, marking a significant shift towards ensuring equal and fair access to online content.

Net neutrality, a fundamental principle advocating for unbiased internet access without favouritism towards specific products or websites, underpins the proposed FCC regulations. Rosenworcel emphasised the essential nature of broadband internet, especially highlighted during the pandemic, and stressed the need for oversight to maintain fairness and accessibility for all users.

President Joe Biden has endorsed the reinstatement of net neutrality rules, aligning with his July 2021 executive order urging the FCC to restore regulations established under the Obama administration. However, Democrats faced obstacles in reinstating these rules until October 2021, when they gained majority control of the FCC. Despite Republican opposition, Rosenworcel contends that the reclassification offers essential national security measures and empowers the FCC to address equipment concerns from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE.

Why does it matter?

While the FCC’s plan faces criticism from Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr, who argues against government control of the internet, proponents highlight increased broadband speeds, reduced prices, and enhanced competition as benefits of net neutrality rules. Despite the 2017 repeal, several states have implemented their net neutrality laws, indicating growing support for equitable internet access nationwide.