THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) has outlined its plans to end net neutrality in the United States.
As widely expected, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made the announcement on the day before Thanksgiving to deflect attention away over the long holiday weekend.
The decision will see the potential introduction of "fast lanes" for paying customers and remove the Type II Communication status given to the internet under the Obama administration.
On taking office, Pai, who was on the losing side of the last debate on the matter said that he planned to take a "weed-whacker" to net neutrality.
The news will be of huge benefit to the telecoms companies, cable providers, and cell phone carriers but will ultimately mean that smaller websites will find it harder to keep up with large companies who can afford to pay for the "fast lane".
"The FCC will no longer be in the business of micromanaging business models and preemptively prohibiting services and applications and products that could be pro-competitive," Pai told Reuters.
"We should simply set rules of the road that let companies of all kinds in every sector compete and let consumers decide who wins and loses."
The news also comes at a time when satirist John Oliver, who has repeatedly called for net neutrality to be preserved on his show, is on Christmas break.
Most major internet sites have said that they disagree with plans to axe net neutrality - even those such as Amazon and Netflix which represent a large proportion of internet traffic in the US, and could afford to pay the fees (though may well end up passing the costs on to end customers.
Fight For The Future which is spearheading protests and lobbying senators to delay or even challenge the decision on legal grounds has reacted furiously.
Evan Greer, campaign director, said: "Ajit Pai may be owned by Verizon, but he has to answer to Congress, and lawmakers have to answer to us, their constituents. The corrupt bureaucrats trying to kill net neutrality are hoping to avoid public backlash by burying the news over the holiday weekend. We're taking our protest from the internet to the streets to make sure that doesn't happen,"
At The INQUIRER, we have always had our cards on the table for this one. It's a bad thing. Net neutrality is bigger than all of us. Even Tim Berners-Lee disagrees with its dismantling.
It will impact the whole world, not just the US because the US is such a linchpin of the internet. So even if you are outside the US, don't be afraid to make your voice known. If a vote on December 14th is successful in axing net neutrality, there is no turning back. µ
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