FCC releases net neutrality repeal order

A protester's sign is seen during a rally against the Federal Communication Commission's plan to repeal net neutrality rules at a Washington, D.C., protest on December 14. The FCC released its net neutrality repeal order on Thursday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Jan. 6 (UPI) — The Federal Communications Commission released its net neutrality repeal order, noting that it did not rely on thousands of suspicious public comments in its decision.

The 539-page order has few changes from the draft first circulated in November. The Republican-controlled commission voted along party lines on Dec. 14 in a three-to-two decision to eliminate rules prohibiting broadband providers from favoring Internet traffic of websites willing to pay for faster service. The rules are a holdover from the Obama administration, which called for all Internet traffic to move at an identical speed with no network blocking.

“In this document, the American public can see for themselves the damage done by this agency to Internet openness,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the repeal, said on Friday. “Going forward, our broadband providers will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content. This is not right.”

In the final order, released Thursday, the FCC said it was not swayed by public comments to delay revision of the rules. A study found that nearly eight million of the 23 million public comments regarding the net neutrality rule had nearly identical wording and were filed under email domains registered to FakeMailGenerator.com.

Lawsuits calling for the overturning of the FCC’s new order can be expected, Bloomberg News reported on Friday. Eric Schneidermann, New York State attorney general, was among state officials and legislators requesting a delay of the vote. He cited the fake comments as an indication that the commission members could not adequately gauge public reaction to the ruling.

The repeal will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. It is unknown when publication will occur.


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