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Net Neutrality's Fate Is In The Hands Of These FCC Officials

23 November 2017, 8:10 am EST By Vincent Lanaria Tech Times
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Google, Facebook and Amazon stage 'day of action' protest in favour of net neutrality

In a meeting on Dec. 14, the Federal Communications Commission will decide what will happen to the current net neutrality rules.

These regulations were set in place in 2015 to prevent internet service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon from throttling bandwidth speeds, blocking select websites, locking content behind payment schemes, and other similar moves that will favor their services over others.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Michael O'Rielly, Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn, and Jessica Rosenworcel are the five officials who will determine whether the regulations will remain intact or not.

Net Neutrality End Date Announced

Pai has been vocal in ending net neutrality, announcing his intention to push for its demise and releasing his full proposal (PDF) on the matter, which will be the focal point of the voting process during the December meeting.

The Key Players

FCC's chief Pai, previously a telecommunications lawyer and associate general counsel for Verizon, was appointed by President Donald Trump to the position in the agency. In 2015, he was strident against the instatement of net neutrality rules, and now he is moving forward to repeal them.

Since 2013, O'Rielly has been an FCC commissioner. He is a Republican who also voted against net neutrality in 2015. He didn't voice his support for Pai's proposal to eliminate the regulations, but based on his comments and the consensus, he will likely back it up.

Carr had been the legal advisor to Pai for three years. He was nominated for a position in the FCC back in June, and he assumed the job in August. His elevation to the commission's general counsel in January was due to Pai. He has announced that he "fully supported" the chairman's proposal.

Clyburn has been in the FCC since 2009, making her the current commissioner who has spent the longest time in the agency. She is a staunch defender of net neutrality who voted for it in 2015 and has said (PDF) that Pai's plan "is simply a giveaway to the nation's largest communications companies, at the expense of consumers and innovation ... I hope my colleagues will see the light, and put these drafts where they belong: in the trash heap."

Rosenworcel is also a supporter of net neutrality. She backed it up in 2015 along with Clyburn and then FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who are all Democrats, and has said (PDF) that Pai's proposal "is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the Internet every day."

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