The decision means the rules favored by consumer groups but despised by telecom companies will remain in place for now. But the Trump administration has already signaled that it intends to scrap the Obama-era policy.
The new FCC Chairman in a speech today said that he wants to ditch the legal basis for the net neutrality rules that regulated internet service as a utility, like phone service. He also wants to eliminate the FCC’s broad powers to monitor Verizon, AT&T and Comcast for bad behavior. He is seeking input on how to change rules barring broadband providers from blocking and slowing down websites and from charging internet companies for a “fast lane” to customers.
Broadband companies hate the net neutrality rules, and they have an ally in new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has repeatedly called the regulations a mistake. Pai could launch the process of unwinding the rules as early as today, according to reports.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai intends to launch his reworking of the Obama-era net neutrality rules, according to sources familiar with the plan, setting up a showdown on an issue that has long pitted tech companies against internet providers. In a speech in Washington on Wednesday, Pai plans to discuss his vision for net neutrality — keeping open internet principles but getting rid of the utility-style regulatory framework approved by the agency’s previous Democratic majority.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai met with executives at Facebook, Cisco, Oracle, Intel and other major tech companies this week as the federal agency considers rolling back controversial net neutrality rules. He said he was looking for ideas how the FCC could change the more restrictive aspects of its net neutrality rules, while preserving parts of the regulation that ensure the internet remains open.
Chairman Ajit Pai last week floated his plan to roll back the rules in a meeting with broadband industry lobbyists. A tech industry source told The Hill Pai could unveil his plans as soon as May. Republicans have long blasted the rules, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic the same. But consumer groups and Democrats are fighting to save the rules, which they say prevent companies from playing favorites with websites and online content.
In advance of the looming fight over the highly contentious net neutrality, a lobbying group representing some of tech’s biggest names met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday to argue in support of net neutrality. In a document released on Wednesday shedding light on the details of the meeting, the Internet Association said that it advocated for the Open Internet Order, which was passed under Obama-appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has briefed telecom trade associations on his plans to scale back net neutrality rules. Pai’s plans will apparently maintain the basic concept of net neutrality, but will move the enforcement of the rules back to the Federal Trade Commission, rather than the FCC.
Hard-fought protections on privacy and competition at the FCC put in place before President Donald Trump took office, had upset the phone and cable industries. The new regime at the agency under Ajit Pai says consumers win if businesses face less regulation and have more incentives to invest. But consumer advocates worry these changes give broadband providers that own media businesses more power to favor their own services, among other things.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai railed against net neutrality on Tuesday, saying that the 2015 rules are “outdated” and are stifling the internet economy. “The FCC decided to apply last-century, utility-style regulation to today’s broadband networks,” Pai said during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The FCC in a 2-1 vote has exempted smaller internet providers from certain reporting requirements under the net neutrality rules approved under the Obama administration. The vote means broadband providers with 250,000 or fewer subscribers will have a five-year waiver on enhanced reporting requirements aimed at increasing internet service provider transparency.
Sen. Al Franken has written to newly appointed FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in defense of net neutrality, vowing to “fight to protect it every step of the way.” Pai has publicly opposed net neutrality as championed by former Chairman Tom Wheeler since before the Open Internet order was put in place — and afterwards, publishing a 67-page critique of its implementation.
The failed reconfirmation of Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel means that Republicans will hold a majority if and when chairman Tom Wheeler steps down. Their first order of business will likely be to reverse the network neutrality rules that were finalized in 2015.
The two Republicans on the FCC — Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly — say they plan to overturn the commission’s net neutrality rules after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
With Donald Trump headed to the Oval Office in 2017, the FCC’s network neutrality regulations could be in danger of getting the ax — a move that might embolden internet service providers to hike prices for consumers and content companies. Trump has not said much about the issue — or about his technology policy in general. But in a November 2014 tweet, he called President Obama’s push for net neutrality “an attack on the internet” and called it a “top-down power grab.”
CTIA-The Wireless Association and other groups on Friday filed petitions for a federal appeals court case to be reheard by all of the court’s judges.
The decision, if it is upheld, means Obama has put his stamp on the internet in a way few political figures have.
The 2-1 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a win for the Obama administration, the FCC, consumer groups and content companies such as Netflix that want to prevent online content from being blocked or channeled into fast and slow lanes.
Public Knowledge has filed a complaint with the FCC over Comcast excluding its Stream TV OTT service from its customers’ data caps. The complaint says the service doesn’t gel with the FCC’s Open Internet rules and also violates Comcast’s NBCUniversal merger commitments.
Newly released emails reveal the internal wrangling between Congress and the FCC in 2014 over the agency’s controversial Internet regulations. The emails, made public for the first time this week, show FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler complaining that the agency’s “own words are being used against us” in meetings with congressional allies.
Congress on Wednesday unveiled a proposed funding bill that won’t restrict the FCC’s ability to enforce the open Internet rules. The move comes several days after a coalition of leading Web companies urged lawmakers to reject a Republican-led push for riders that could have gutted the net neutrality rules.
A U.S. appeals court heard arguments on Friday over the legality of the FCC’s net neutrality rules, in a case that may ultimately determine how consumers get access to content on the Internet. The fight is the latest battle over Obama administration rules requiring broadband providers to treat all data equally, rather than giving or selling access to a so-called Web “fast lane.”
The strongest U.S. Internet regulations ever written will face their day in court on Friday. Internet service providers like AT&T are hoping to have the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit strike down the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, just as it did to a pair of prior iterations of the rules.
A group of 23 House Republicans on Tuesday told an appeals court that Congress never granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to write net neutrality regulations for the Internet. The members filed a late friend-of-the-court brief with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ahead of oral arguments next month to determine whether the rules approved earlier this year should stand.
New rules that treat the Internet like a public utility and prohibit blocking, slowing and creating paid fast lanes for online traffic took effect Friday. Here’s a look at what the developments mean for consumers and companies.
The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington means that the FCC’s tough new net neutrality rules will take effect on Friday — with the Internet to be reclassified as a regulated communications utility. The U.S. Telecom Association asked the court to block the changes while justices weigh legal challenges to the regulations. But the organization has “not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,” the ruling says. The parties in the larger case now have two weeks to propose a schedule for the trial.
The FCC and those trying to kill its new net neutrality rules agree on at least one thing: The court should make quick work of the case. The FCC on Friday filed a brief urging the court not to put the agency’s newly approved net neutrality rules on hold while the broader legal challenges are worked out.
Telecom and cable groups moved on to the next step in fighting the FCC’s open Internet order, filing a joint motion Wednesday for a partial stay of the order before it goes into effect on June 12.
The FCC’s net neutrality rules came under a new legal assault Tuesday, as AT&T and the major wireless and cable industry groups sued to overturn the order. AT&T and its trade group CTIA — The Wireless Association, which also represents Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, filed lawsuits in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, as did the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, whose members include Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. The American Cable Association, which represents smaller cable operators, went to the same court.
Expect Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) to introduce a Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC’s net neutrality rules the day Congress returns on April 13. A disapproval resolution to block the FCC’s rules requires only a simple majority in both chambers to pass, but it would likely be stopped by President Obama’s veto pen.
The GOP continued to chip away at the FCC’s open Internet order Tuesday, using the commission budget as its latest cudgel. At a House appropriation subcommittee hearing, members heard another round of testimony from the dueling duo of net neutrality: chairman Tom Wheeler and GOP commissioner Ajit Pai. It was the fourth hearing in seven days during which Republicans have put the FCC’s order to reclassify Internet service as a utility under intense questioning.
On Monday, USTelecom — a group that includes some of the nation’s largest Internet providers — filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the FCC in New Orleans. The court filings kick-start a legal effort to overturn the FCC’s regulations, passed in February, that aim to keep Internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking Web traffic.
FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will be back in the witness chair this week, facing two more committees that intend to keep up the heat following the commission’s 3-2 party-line vote to treat Internet service as a utility.
Some key Senate Democrats are giving signals that they may join with Republicans in support of bipartisan legislation to replace federal net neutrality regulations. Lawmakers have a steep hill to climb to reach any compromise on the issue, which so far has created a sharp divide between Democrats and Republicans. But the prospect that a lawsuit will strike down the rules or that a future FCC will undo them might be prompting Democrats to renew talks with GOP lawmakers about a possible bill.
Top White House aides met with the head of the FCC at least nine times while it was working on strong Internet regulations without telling the public, House Republicans revealed today. Agency head Tom Wheeler defended the lack of disclosure about the meetings during a hearing in the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, claiming that the tough new net neutrality rules never came up in those talks.
Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will convene the first hearing on the subject since the FCC voted last month to put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone, using the 1934 Communications Act. This means that whenever a company provides an Internet connection, it has to act in the public interest and not do anything considered “unjust or unreasonable.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will appear before five congressional committees over the next two weeks, facing off with Republicans over his net neutrality plan.
The FCC today released the full text of its recently approved net neutrality rules, which face legal challenges and congressional pushback. The rules alone run for 313 pages. Including the statements of the five commissioners, the document hits 400 pages, with the two GOP dissents taking up the final 79 pages. The rules were approved two weeks ago on a 3-2 vote and have proved controversial throughout the yearlong rule-making process. The FCC is sending the order to the Federal Register, and it will take effect 60 days after publication.
My column last week saying that broadcasters were among the winners in the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, was challenged by Bonten Media Group’s Randy Bongarten. I had it all wrong, he said. As a TV medium, broadcasters’ great advantage is their ability to deliver programming to the most people at the lowest cost, he said. What net neutrality will do is strip broadcasting of that advantage by allowing big companies like Netflix, Amazon and Google to distribute TV over the Internet at artificially low prices.
The FCC will be sued by companies seeking to overturn net neutrality rules the agency passed last week, Chairman Tom Wheeler said. “The big dogs have promised that they’re going to litigate,” he said at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona today.