WELL WE knew this one was coming, and now it's really here. The net neutrality dream could be about to die.
Pai has now announced that the "heavy-handed" rules "hurt investment".
"Earlier today I shared with my fellow commissioners a proposal to reverse the mistake of Title II and return to the light touch framework that served us so well during the Clinton administration, Bush administration, and first six years of the Obama administration," said Pai, probably whilst burning bank notes earmarked for orphaned children (though we can't confirm that).
After public outcry at plans to remove net neutrality rules tabled by previous chairman Tom Wheeler, the ruling enshrined that all "data bits" are treated equally with no "fast lanes" for premium paying customers.
Full text of the plans will be available later today, with a vote planned for 18 May, after a public consultation. Unfortunately, with the republicans controlling both houses and the wire-wool satsuma at the helm, there's a good chance this is going to pass.
The main points, though, is that the internet will be reclassified as 'Type I - information service's, which means it'll lose that safe status of, say telecoms.
It will stop ISPs from inventing things and then making the FCC apply them because of net neutrality rules.
Finally, it will reopen the debate about whether net neutrality should be scrapped, softened or generally arsed about with. Again.
For the ISPs, this is Cinquo De Mayo. It means that they will be able, potentially to start charging more to the likes of Netflix for prioritisation of their traffic. But in doing so, it'll mean that rival services will need the funding to pay the same premium in order to compete on a level playing field, so for example, if we set up an INQ video streaming service, we'd have to factor in the cost of, essentially bribing the ISPs for the same consideration as existing companies.
Even within the industry, the idea is hugely unpopular - even for Netflix, a company responsible for nearly half of the non-advert traffic passing through US internet servers.
For them, while the service might improve if they pay, their costs would go up, making it more expensive for end users.
This isn't going to pass without a fight, but given that the whole fight was won by common sense just two years ago, it's frustrating that we're going down this road again. 800 companies have already signed an open letter to Pai warning that they're not happy. And this is just the beginning. µ
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