With net neutrality all-but-gone, has the FCC just opened the door to “paid prioritization?”
Earlier this morning, Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, has unveiled plans to completely do away with net neutrality. The teardown is happening during the Thanksgiving holiday week, ostensibly to avoid internet pushback.
In a statement on his draft titled Restoring Internet Freedom Order, Pai explained,
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet. Instead, the F.C.C. would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
The elimination of net neutrality would allow ISPs to enact what critics have long feared: “internet fast lanes.” Following possible deals with major companies across multiple sectors, including those within the music industry, ISPs in the US could provide faster access to promoted websites and destinations.
According to Pai, eliminating net neutrality will allow consumers to “buy the service plan that’s best for them.” Calling Obama-era rules for an open and free internet “a failed approach,” he added,
“The FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
With the elimination of net neutrality, the authority to regulate broadband companies would fall solely on the FTC.
“The Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015.”
Pai hails the plans as part of a “bipartisan network.” The agency will vote on the initiative on December 14th. The vote will likely fall along party lines, with Republicans controlling three seats on the commission.
Scrapping net neutrality could change the digital ecosystem entirely. For an analysis on how this would affect the music industry, you can click here.
Featured image by Greg Elin (CC by 2.0)