United States – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is set to hold a vote on Thursday for the first time in repealing landmark net neutrality rules and usher in a new regulatory regime for broadband internet that was reversed recently under former President Donald Trump.

Efforts to Restore Open Internet Principles

The commissioners voted 3-2 in October to initiate the procedure of reinstating open internet regulations approved in 2015 and restoring the commission’s power over broadband internet. The FCC is set for a vote Thursday to give the final approval, as reported by Reuters.

Controlling principles or net neutrality means internet service providers have to impart access on all the content and apps without consideration to where it comes from and without favoring or blocking any products or websites.

Ensuring an Open Internet

“It is time to have broadband oversight, national net neutrality rules, and policies that ensure the internet is fast, open, and fair,” said FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

Returning rules was one of Joe Biden’s first priorities, and he signed his executive order in July 2021 urging the FCC to restore the net neutrality rules of Barack Obama’s administration.

Democrats were thwarted for a period of almost three years due to the fact that they could not ensure a majority of the five-member FCC until October of that year.

During Trump’s era, the FCC articulated that the net neutrality rules were not required, averse to innovation, and resulted in shrinking investments in internet service providers, which is the other way around.

Political Priorities and Opposition

Visual Representation – House Energy and Commerce Committee. Credit | Shutterstock

As part of a coalition of Republican lawmakers, including House Energy and Commerce Committee chairperson Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Ted Cruz, this plan is described as an “illegal power grab” that will open up the broadband industry to an oppressive regulatory regime. This mechanism is supposed to give the FCC, states, and localities the power to impose rate regulation, unbundling obligations, and broadband taxing

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members consists of Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O), Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and Meta Platforms (META.O), advocates for an open internet, arguing that rules must be reinstated to preserve access to the internet.

Perspectives on Net Neutrality

USTelecom, whose other members include AT&T (T.N), Verizon (VZ.N), and so forth, described the latest effort as entirely counterproductive, unnecessary, and anti-consumer regulatory distraction, as reported by Reuters.

A dozen states maintain net neutrality legislation or regulations in effect despite the repeal in 2017. In May 2022, industry associations gave up on legal objections to the state laws.