Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

And given that net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support among consumers, Pai has an uphill battle against what will likely be severe activist backlash.

Pai, who opposed the net neutrality reclassification in 2015, has repeatedly said he backs a "free and open internet" but under a different regulatory scheme. Consumer groups have argued that Internet providers have a strong incentive to force websites such as Netflix or Google to pay a fee to be displayed on consumers' screens, which could affect what services consumers can see and access online. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, last Friday to discuss defending net neutrality. The regulations reclassified ISPs much like utilities.

Pai did not give a specific date but said it will be for Class C and D stations, and the necessary IT work is being done now and it's going well. During the event, he is expected to tell the telecom industry and other interested parties why he opposing applying Title II regulations to ensure large ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon won't block or throttle web traffic that travels over their last mile networks.

Color Of Change was instrumental in pushing for the adoption of net neutrality by the FCC in 2015. In a Wednesday speech, Pai will reportedly announce that he is scheduling a vote for the FCC's May 18 meeting to begin the process of repealing the rules. But policy analysts say that would be a high-risk, high-reward strategy that could quickly run into legal challenges from supporters of net neutrality desperate to preserve the existing rules. "A year ago the United States experienced the first decline in broadband investment outside of a recession", Pai said in a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, as cited by Tech Crunch.

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At an FCC meeting last week, Pai said that he thinks "everybody needs to recognize that there is common ground here, and there is room for an agreement here".

The FCC moved to impose the no-blocking, no-throttling and no-discrimination rules on Internet service providers under former Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler and, as a Republican commissioner, Pai voted against the 2015 rules.

For the moment, though, there's no net-neutrality development to rally around, and won't be until there's an actual FCC proposal up for debate.

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