FCC repeal of Net Neutrality proposal opens up internet for tiered packages; State/local laws must comply

Your Internet is about to go on a journey.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, would be voting to kill the Net Neutrality Rules that are currently in effect next month. The FCC has released their proposal for what will be taking its place and it's basically cable TV packages for the internet. 

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet,” Pai said in a statement Tuesday. His proposal would allow Internet service providers (ISP), like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content.

Internet service providers would be able to pick and choose what content internet users are able to browse depending on which service package they subscribe to. This could also apply to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, PSN, and Xbox Live.

The FCC also made it clear that state and local laws will be preempted if they conflict with the US government's policy or deregulating the internet, meaning that states can't maintain net neutrality laws.

On the positive side, Pai’s plan would require Internet service providers to be transparent about where their allegiances lie.

For example, if an ISP chooses to block, slow certain websites, or give preferential treatment to content that it owns or has partnerships with, that provider would have to inform consumers of its policy on an "easily accessible website." 

Current Net Neutrality laws have clear bans against internet service providers selectively blocking or slowing websites, as well as speeding up websites that agree to pay the providers a fee.


(Here's an example of what this proposal could allow ISPs to do. This is an ISPs tiered packages in Portugal. )

The proposal also would shift enforcement of the internet's new rules to the Federal Trade Commission, which can sue companies for violating the commitments or statements they have made to the public.

“The FTC stands ready to protect broadband subscribers from anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts and practices just as we protect consumers in the rest of the Internet ecosystem,” Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting chairman of the FTC.

Google has spoken out against the proposal, as did the individual who drafted the 2015 net neutrality rules.

“The FCC’s net neutrality rules are working well for consumers, and we’re disappointed in the proposal released today,” Google said in a statement.

Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who drafted the 2015 net neutrality rules, called the proposal “tragic,” adding that “if you like your cable company, you’ll love what this does for the Internet."

Wheeler went on to say, "The job of the FCC is to represent the consumer. Tragically, this decision is only for the benefit of the large monopoly services that deliver the Internet to the consumer.”

Of course, an internet service provider liked the proposal. Verizon released a statement in favor of the “light-touch regulatory framework for Internet services” that the proposal offers.