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[liberationtech] Net Neutrality Forecast Cloudy

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Jan 26 21:20:43 PST 2017

From: Arzak Khan <director at>

Net Neutrality Forecast: Cloudy

It should come as a surprise to no one that the arrival of a new
conservative Republican administration means a reordering of
telecommunications policy — away from regulation, and towards a freer hand
for the semi-monopolists who control our network access. Now that this
change is taking concrete form, it’s worth taking a closer look at.
Ajit Pai, who is already a commissioner at the Federal Communications
Commission (and before that was a lawyer for Verizon), will be the new FCC
chairman (The Washington Post). Critics say Pai was a staunch opponent of
his predecessor Tom Wheeler’s moves to make network neutrality the law, and
we should expect the FCC to begin unravelling that initiative — making it
easier for Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and other network providers to create
different tiers of internet access and to bundle content channels that they
control with the basic network services they provide (Motherboard). Also in
the offing: a loosening of privacy rules and less support for municipal
broadband initiatives.

Pai’s defenders, like Larry Downes (Forbes), say he’s being smeared — he
supports the basic concept of net neutrality but opposes Obama-era
overreach. The industry is welcoming Pai’s ascent and promises a wave of
innovation and new products in the short run. In the long run? Your bills
could rise, and already-meager service-provider choices could narrow. But
the real test of any net-neutrality outcome is how open the internet
remains to newcomers, new companies, and new ideas.
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