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The Battle for Net Neutrality: FCC Poised to Restore Obama-Era Rules

The Battle for Net Neutrality: FCC Poised to Restore Obama-Era Rules
The Battle for Net Neutrality: FCC Poised to Restore Obama-Era Rules

Restoring Net Neutrality: FCC Set to Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to vote later this month on restoring net neutrality rules, a significant step in reinstating Obama-era regulations that were dismantled by the Trump administration in 2017. With Democrats now holding a majority on the FCC, they can fulfill President Biden's 2021 executive order calling for the restoration of net neutrality.

Net neutrality, enshrined in Title II of the Communications Act, treats broadband services as an essential utility, empowering the FCC to regulate the industry and prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from engaging in anti-consumer practices. These practices include unfair pricing, blocking or throttling content, and providing preferential treatment to certain websites or services.

The reinstatement of net neutrality has faced delays due to political obstacles, including the lengthy confirmation process of Biden's FCC nominee Gigi Sohn, who withdrew her nomination in 2023 amidst opposition from Republicans and some Democrats. However, with the swearing-in of Anna Gomez in September 2023, Democrats regained a majority on the FCC, paving the way for the upcoming vote.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has emphasized the importance of net neutrality, noting that broadband's essential role has been evident during the pandemic. She expressed frustration that the FCC has been unable to fully regulate broadband networks and protect consumers due to the previous administration's actions.

The return to net neutrality regulations is expected to enhance the FCC's ability to safeguard an open and fair internet, ensuring that all users have equal access to information and services, regardless of their ability to pay or the websites they visit.

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