In a decision dreaded by advocates of a free and open Internet, the Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to overturn regulations mandating net neutrality. The move represented a major victory for Ajit Pai, the former Jeff Sessions staffer and Verizon lawyer who was appointed chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump, and has long crusaded against what he calls “heavy-handed” regulation of the telecommunications industry.
The decision is likely to have major ramifications for consumers, online businesses and Internet service providers (ISPs). The existing regulations, put into place by Pai’s predecessor Tom Wheeler in 2015, codified longstanding Internet practice by explicitly requiring ISPs to treat all Internet traffic equally. In contrast to a cable provider, which can decide exactly what networks or services customers get for their monthly fee, ISPs are forbidden from discriminating among their customers. When you pay your fee to get online, you get everything. But under the new regime, a handful of the most powerful telecommunication companies in the U.S. – Comcast, Verizon, AT&T – will have unlimited freedom to slice and dice the Internet ecology as they please.More at Rolling Stone