FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today published a draft order that details how he intends to roll back the current net neutrality regulations. Pai said the order “would return to the bipartisan consensus on light-touch regulation, ending utility-style regulation of the internet.” The goal, says Pai, is to “promote future innovation and investment.” To start, Pai would strip the internet of its current classification as a “utility” and reclassify it as an “information service.” Pai would also reinstate the private mobile service classification of mobile broadband internet service. Rather than force ISPs to comply with bright-line rules, Pai would have them adopt “transparency requirements” to disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission. The idea is that if they are open about their practices, it will be easy for consumers to choose their service. The order also would restore the FTC’s oversight of the broadband industry, giving it the power to protect consumers online from any unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices. With the order now public, the FCC will field comments over the next few weeks before it is expected to vote on the matter at its December 14 open meeting. Pai insists that today’s net neutrality regulations are overly burdensome to ISPs and have dampened investment in new services. He believes removing these regulations will encourage investment and growth. The move is seen as a win for internet companies.
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