Attorney General Maura Healey to sue FCC over net neutrality rollback

US regulator set to scrap 'net neutrality' rules that protect open internet

Ironically, the same congressional review process that Flake used to block the privacy rules is one avenue that lawmakers could use to resuscitate net neutrality, blocking the FCC's decision just like Congress did with the privacy rules last spring. Critics argue that the net neutrality repeal is a blow to consumers, as it could empower companies to charge users to use certain internet content or features, while FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the ruling will spur competition.

But without rules in place, broadband providers could raise costs for small businesses and consumers, net neutrality advocates say.

Comcast, one of the nation's largest broadband providers, whose stock rose 1.4 percent to $39.12 on Thursday, has sought to calm customers' worries over the loss of net neutrality protections. Previous versions of the site, preserved by the Internet Archive, promised to not throttle content, prioritize internet traffic, or create paid fast lanes, while committing to making internet accessible to low income families.

"The Trump administration supports the FCC's effort to roll back burdensome regulations but as we have always done and will continue, we certainly support a free and fair internet". "Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence".

"The digital world bears no resemblance to a water pipe or electric line or sewer", Pai said in a session briefly halted over an undisclosed security threat. His fellow Republican commissioner, Brendan Carr, dismissed what he called "apocalyptic" talk. "This decision puts the Federal Communications Commission on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public", she said.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said Wednesday that he will "sue to stop the illegal rollback of net neutrality".

Net neutrality is the basic principle that internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T must treat all data on the Web in an nondiscriminatory fashion, meaning they can not charge different rates based on users, content, websites or other such nuances. "This is a great day for consumers, innovators, and freedom".

"We'll have plenty to say in court about the legal mistakes littered throughout this decision", said Free Press spokesman Matt Wood.

"The internet has functioned without net neutrality rules far longer than with them", he said. "The privacy protections internet users had before the rule are the same privacy protections they have today".

Commission member Michael O'Rielly dismissed "fear-mongering" by neutrality backers.

Estelle Masse, a senior policy analyst at digital rights group Access Now, warned that the FCC's decision showed how quickly governments can undermine one of the foundational precepts of internet access, including in the European Union, where there are legal guarantees of equal access.

WASHINGTON, December 14, 2017 - The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for almost 20 years. The Internet Association, a trade group which represents industry giants like Facebook and Google, also sharply criticized repeal attempts.

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