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FCC Will Kill 'Nearly Every Net Neutrality Rule on the Books'

FCC releases final draft of its plans to undo net neutrality
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2017 6:06 PM CST

(Newser) – The FCC released the final draft of its proposal to end net neutrality on Wednesday, and the Verge reports it gets rid of "nearly every net neutrality rule on the books" while allowing for "blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization" on the part of internet service providers. The proposal will allow ISPs to create fast and slow lanes, give preference to certain customers, and stop people from accessing apps and services at will. The one net neutrality rule the proposal leaves in place is that ISPs must publicly disclose when they are doing those things. The FCC says removing net neutrality rules will "facilitate critical broadband investment and innovation." Here's what else you need to know:

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  • USA Today has a quick explainer of net neutrality, what the old rules did, and how the Internet could change under the FCC's proposal.
  • Wired goes more in depth on how the proposal could change the internet as you know it. A dramatic example: ISPs become like cable providers, giving you access to more websites and apps the more you pay. More likely example: ISPs become more like mobile plans, prioritizing websites and apps they are partners with.
  • Under its proposal, the FCC transfers the burden of protecting consumers to the Federal Trade Commission. But BGR argues the FTC is too busy and too weak to challenge powerful ISPs and won't be able to promote competition between ISPs, which is desperately needed.
  • The FCC is seeking so stop states from passing their own net neutrality laws, which many are likely to try should the FCC proposal pass, Politico reports. It probably won't go over well. "I certainly can think of nothing that could be more calculated to get states that are already pissed off to motivate themselves to challenge this decision," says an executive at a public interest group that supports net neutrality.

  • The FCC proposal is almost certain to pass at a Dec. 14 meeting unless one of the three Republicans on the five-person commission suddenly changes their mind, Wired reports.
  • Convincing one of those commissioners to change their position may be difficult, as New York's attorney general says hundreds of thousands of anti-net neutrality comments have been sent to the FCC by bots stealing the identities of real people, Newsweek reports. Eric Schnedierman says the FCC has been "unwilling" to look into it.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is against the FCC proposal: "The FCC’s new approach invites a future where only the largest Internet, cable, and telephone companies survive, while every start-up, small business, and new innovator is crowded out—and the voices of nonprofits and ordinary individuals are suppressed."
  • But Fortune can't find any sympathy for net neutrality supporters like Google, Facebook, and Netflix: "They can pay for access to Internet and pass on the costs on to their customers just fine. And if that doesn’t work, well, boo-hoo. Combined those companies have as much cash as several incarcerated Saudi princes."
(Read more net neutrality stories.)

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