US President designates opponent of net neutrality to chair the FCC

23 Jan 2017

US President Donald Trump has appointed Ajit Pai to chair the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), replacing Tom Wheeler. Pai is presented by media as an opponent of net neutrality, and he is expected to take steps towards the review of the net neutrality rules the Commission adopted in 2015.

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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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