Well, after months of increasingly less veiled threats against the free and open internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai revealed his plan for repealing net neutrality today.
As Variety reports, the Trump-appointed Pai announced he’d seek to officially repeal net neutrality at the December 14 meeting of the FCC, adding another depressing deadline to our future. In a statement, Pai declares, “For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress.” But then, during the Obama administration, Pai claims this organization was forced to “[impose] heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet.” He believes the decision was “a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.” Yeah, it was a really bad idea to treat something like internet, which virtually everyone uses, as a utility like electricity, which virtually everyone needs.
A draft of Pai’s proposal is now making the rounds with his fellow commissioners, calling for “one rule, to require Internet service providers to disclose their practices for handling web traffic, while abandoning the rest of the regulations.” This is the bullshit honor system Pai has proposed in the past; he seems to think that corporations that are less than forthcoming about tax information can somehow be trusted to share their web traffic practices, which include throttling speeds (though they naturally claim to do that in their customer’s best interests).
The “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” plan effectively removes customer protections and hands over control of the internet to private companies. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has even rebranded it as the “Destroying Internet Freedom Order,” while Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has vowed to fight Pai’s proposed plan.
For more on what the end of net neutrality involves, check out this post from our corporate brethren at Lifehacker.