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In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted the Open Internet Order, better known as net neutrality. The rules of net neutrality made it illegal for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to bar, throttle, or slow access to content, applications, or services, as well as prohibiting ISPs from giving paid prioritizations to content or services on the Internet .
The new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, is taking steps toward removing net neutrality and returning the Internet, and its regulations, back to their original status prior to 2015. Pai has been longtime critic of net neutrality. In his view, the regulations on ISPs stifle innovation and investments, saying in a speech in Washington, D.C., "It's basic economics. The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you're likely to get ."
Supporters of net neutrality, like the trade group the Internet Association - which represents tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have been adamant that net neutrality must remain in place. "The internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition and innovation online," the Internet Association said. "Existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact ."
MIT Technology Review asked in an online article, "many ISPs are rolling out streaming video products of their own. What is to stop them from giving their own content, or that of an exclusive partner, preferential treatment ?"
Instead of making an executive order, Pai submitted a proposal that is open to public comment and will then go before the full panel of FCC commissioners. However, he seems dismissive of any actions other than removing net neutrality .
Net neutrality ensures that everyone has equal access to content and services on the Internet, regardless of their provider or location. That must not change! Show your support of net neutrality and holding Internet providers to the standards of open, equal Internet access by signing the petition. Make your voice heard!
President Donald Trump:
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is taking steps to eliminate net neutrality rules for Internet Service Providers and retract the Open Internet Order of 2015. This would be a disaster for consumers, businesses, and the innovative technology industry as a whole. Net neutrality must be kept in place to ensure that all consumers are provided equal and open access to the internet, content, services, and devices.
Without net neutrality in place, Americans would have no guarantees that their access to content and services would be uninterrupted, throttled, or even barred by companies looking to outperform their industry rivals. With many Americans living in areas without open competition of providers, this would leave them with little or no recourse to access the internet and its content in the manner of their choosing.
According to Engadget, "Removing the regulations could ease the burden on small ISPs that serve limited communities, but it also makes it easier for large conglomerates like Comcast (which owns NBC) to give it priority to its own content over that from say Netflix." The possibilities for Internet Service Providers to disenfranchise their consumers for their own interest is too great a risk, and the American people must come first.
The Open Internet Order rightfully moved Internet Service Providers into the public utilities category under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This put the internet and its service providers under the stricter regulations of the FCC. Chairman Pai's desire to re-categorize Internet Service Providers as Title I services would deregulate them, leaving them under the jurisdiction of the FTC, and essentially allow providers to simply self-regulate a recipe for disaster.
With the history of Internet Service Providers already throttling access to content and practicing paid prioritization, such as AT&T and Comcast, the threat to consumers is not hypothetical but deeply founded. That discriminatory provision to broadband access must not be allowed to return.
I urge you, the President of the United States, to do what is necessary to keep net neutrality in place and protect American consumers. If Chairman Pai will not stop his pursuit of eliminating net neutrality, he must be replaced with a new Chairman of the FCC. For the sake of consumers, industry, and innovation as a whole, net neutrality must be protected.