World in Review: FCC moves forward with vote to repeal net neutrality protections

FCC head Ajit Pai plans to remove net neutrality’s protection status as a title II utility.  Internet Photo

FCC head Ajit Pai plans to remove net neutrality’s protection status as a title II utility.  Internet Photo

By Syeda Sameeha, News Reporter

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan on Nov. 21 to repeal all net neutrality regulations that were created by the Obama administration in 2015.

According to Tim Wu, Columbia University law professor and the man who coined the term “net neutrality,” “Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally.” 

In 2015, the Obama administration passed net neutrality regulations with this idea in mind - that “the role of high speed internet access is a gateway to modern communication, information, entertainment, and economic opportunity” as stated by the New York Times.

Under net neutrality regulations, the internet is considered a public utility or a Title II - just like electricity and water. Internet service providers (I.S.P) are prevented from setting limitations on internet traffic such as intentionally blocking, slowing down, or charging certain websites.

Pai’s plan to dismantle net neutrality regulations would allow ISPs to block websites that are not approved by them and charge web companies for “speedier delivery of their content” as reported by the Washington Post. 

In a statement on Nov. 22, Pai said, “Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet.”

The plan to repeal net neutrality regulations has received significant backlash. According to the battleforthenet.com, a website created by activists that connects calls to Congress, almost 760,861 people have called Congress to protest the repeal. 

As Steve Lohr of the New York Times reports, net neutrality supporters are concerned that the internet will become “pay-to-play technology” with two lanes. One lane would have high speed internet occupied by major corporations and households that can afford to pay. The slow lane would be for everyone else who cannot pay for these services. 

The FCC will vote on the plan to repeal net neutrality on Dec. 14. As stated by NPR, the repeal proposal is expected to pass given the Republican majority.