Vote kicks off battle over regulation of internet

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The FCC said it will consider at a later date permanently changing or revoking the six-year-old rule that has been criticized for raising phone rates to more than 1 million customers in rural America.

USTelecom, a trade group for broadband providers including AT&T and Verizon, said in a news release the vote moved policy FCC was moving toward "a modern, constructive policy framework".

Your second option is, of course, to call your congressional representative and give them your thoughts of net neutrality, as it is likely we'll see new legislation regarding this matter in the coming months.

Digital rights activists and major tech firms alike have been mobilizing against the plan, which would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge wealthier users for "fast lanes", while other internet users suffer through slower service.

Public comments are, in theory, an important part in how the FCC makes a choice.

Here's why: Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a service can be either a "telecommunications service" that lets the subscriber choose the content they receive and send without interference from the service provider; or it can be an "information service", like cable television, that curates and selects what subscribers will get. The commission seems skeptical that any net neutrality rules are needed at all, saying at one point that there is "virtually no quantifiable evidence of consumer harm" to guard against.

The legal mandate was clear: if we wanted meaningful open Internet rules to pass judicial scrutiny, the FCC had to reclassify broadband as a telecom service.

The US Federal Communications Commission is pushing ahead with plans to overturn the net neutrality regulations adopted by the previous administration.

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"Absent enforceable net neutrality rules, commercial internet service providers have financial incentives to prioritize transmission of content from the highest bidder, and libraries and other not-for-profit institutions do not have the deep financial pockets to pay for priority access".

Meanwhile, proponents of the current rules staged a protest outside the FCC pledging to garner public support against their revocation.

Calling it the Destroying Internet Freedom NPRM, Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn "vociferously" dissented and in a lengthy statement called for a court challenge.

Pai often argues that net neutrality rules are heavy handed and discourage broadband investment.

On Thursday, he called net neutrality a "proverbial sledgehammer wielded against a flea - but there was no flea". On the company's blog, he wrote, "We applaud Chairman Pai and Commissioner O'Rielly for remaining focused on creating a light touch regulatory environment that is pro-consumer, pro-investment, and pro-innovation, especially with the present partisan political rhetoric and debate".

The attack comes the FCC claimed last week that its website was being hit with multiple distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS).

"Counts of comments have only so much value", he said. They were upheld past year by a three-judge panel.

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