United States repeals net neutrality rules governing internet services

The United States on Monday officially repealed the rules governing net neutrality, The New York Times reported. The Federal Communications Commission, a United States agency that regulates communication through radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, had taken the decision in December 2017.

The development allows internet service providers to speed up or slow down user’s access to websites and charge consumers according to the services they use. The Federal Communications Commission will no longer have the power to enforce net neutrality rules if it wishes to.

The 2015 net neutrality rules, established during Barack Obama’s tenure as the president, ensured that internet service providers treated all data equally.

The commission’s chairperson, Ajit Pai, in an opinion-editorial on CNET, said he had voted in favour of the withdrawal to “protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition”. Pai claimed that the internet had flourished without net neutrality rules. “At the dawn of the commercial internet, President [Bill] Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed on a light-touch framework to regulating the internet,” Pai wrote. “Under that approach, the internet was open and free. Network investment topped $1.5 trillion. Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and Google went from small startups to global tech giants. America’s internet economy became the envy in the world.”

Democrats, however, are lobbying to get Congress to overrule the commission’s decision.