The FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal is a Threat to Consumers, the Economy, and Internet Freedom

Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced a radical Order (“Repeal Order”) that would repeal the strong, enforceable net neutrality rules passed in the 2015 Open Internet Order (“2015 Order”), upheld multiple times by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 2015 Order has guaranteed consumers equal access to the online content of their choice and prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating between various websites and content. 

The Repeal Order would strip the Commission of its legal authority over internet service providers and removes all of the net neutrality rules—leaving Americans with no federally-enforceable protections. In this item, the FCC leaves small business owners, internet companies, and Americans unprotected from harmful practices from ISPs that can use their gatekeeper leverage to degrade service and increase costs across the board for consumers and online companies alike. With this item, Pai is setting the table for ISPs to gain total control over consumers’ online experience.

The following quote can be attributed to Sarah Morris, Director of Open Internet Policy for New America's Open Technology Institute:

“This Order is a full-scale repeal of net neutrality. If passed, the FCC will be stripping away critical protections that give people the freedom to access the entirety of the internet, effectively letting internet access be sold away to the highest corporate bidders. If you hate the cable model of content distribution, or think your current internet bills are too high, hold on tight because the internet is about to become more like cable with more hidden fees stemming out of pay-for-play deals for content delivery, and sneaky tolls on certain companies. The repeal of net neutrality will impact every aspect of the internet, from the way we access content and consume news, to the way we organize against and engage in the democratic process.

“Net Neutrality rules aren’t just important, they are tremendously popular. Internet users understand that what makes the internet great is its ability to serve as a platform for unfettered speech and innovative growth. The FCC under both Republican and Democratic leadership has recognized the importance of net neutrality, and in 2015 the FCC finally got the rules and their legal authority right. Chairman Pai’s shameful Order is not only a reversal of those rules; it’s a dramatic departure from net neutrality principles entirely.”

The following quote can be attributed to Michael Calabrese, Director of the Wireless Future Project at New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“Mobile carriers have the ability and a strong incentive to extract payments from online application and content providers, especially streaming video services that increasingly compete with their own content and affiliates. Mobile providers have a history of anticompetitive behavior that distorts the marketplace and harms consumers.

“As broadband traffic moves more and more to mobile devices, the lack of a level playing field will do increasing damage to the internet ecosystem. Removing non-discrimination protections for online content and services will result in toll gates that raise prices for consumers and stifle smaller, innovative, and non-profit web creators.”

OTI submitted comments and then reply comments urging the FCC to retain its net neutrality rules that the majority of Americans have said they want over and over again.