Here Are the Rules the Government Just Proposed to End Net Neutrality
The Federal Communications Commission, led by chairman Ajit Pai, on Wednesday released the final draft of a closely watched plan to reverse a policy of net neutrality, which bars internet service providers from blocking or slowing down web content.
Net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally, no matter what ISP is carrying it.
Pai's proposal, named the Restoring Internet Freedom order, would reverse a 2015 ruling that classifies ISPs as utilities -- opposed by ISPs and supported by those who say pro-net-neutrality policies encourage innovation.
The main difference from the current policy is that broadband internet access would be classified under Title I of the Communications Act instead of under Title II -- basically, ISPs would be "information services" instead of "public utilities."
This seemingly small change could allow ISPs like Comcast and Verizon to legally experiment with so-called fast lanes for internet traffic, in which they prioritize some apps and services over others. Theoretically, under these rules, an ISP could prioritize its own traffic or even block certain apps or services.
The order also proposes giving significant additional authority to the Federal Trade Commission:
"Our balanced approach also restores the authority of the nation's most experienced cop on the privacy beat -- the Federal Trade Commission -- to police the privacy practices of Internet Service Providers."
Some FCC commissioners have said they will oppose the order.
The FCC will vote on the order at its meeting on December 14.
Read the entire order here.