US FCC Republican members plan to work on revising net neutrality rules

20 Dec 2016

In a letter sent to several industry groups representing network operators and Internet service providers, the two Republican members of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have disclosed their plans to work on revising the net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC in 2015. According to the letter, the Commissioners’ intent is to ‘revisit […] the Title II Net Neutrality proceeding more broadly, as soon as possible’. They also noted that they ‘dissented from the Commission's February 2015 Net Neutrality decision, including the Order's imposition of unnecessary and unjustified burdens on providers’.

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The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.

 

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