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The Wall Street Journal: FCC to lay out plan to reverse net-neutrality rules from Obama era

November 21
13:04 2017

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators this week are expected to unveil their plans for reversing Obama-era rules that require internet-service providers to treat all web traffic equally, a move that could fundamentally reshape the internet economy and consumers’ online experience.

The changes, expected to be adopted at the Federal Communications Commission meeting in mid-December, would open the door to a wide range of new opportunities for internet providers, such as forming alliances with content firms to serve up their webpages or video at higher speeds and quality than those without such deals.

Such “paid prioritization” was explicitly blocked under the 2015 rules, which required internet service providers to keep all corners of the internet equally accessible to consumers, and limited the providers’ ability to favor content, including their own.

The new rules are expected to thoroughly dismantle the “open internet” plan adopted by the Obama administration’s FCC, say industry officials familiar with them. Advocates of the current approach, including consumer groups and big internet companies, argued that such regulation is needed to curb the power of the broadband providers to unfairly dominate the online environment through their control over the pipes.

An expansion version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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