FCC net neutrality move sparks backlash

04 Dec 2017


The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plan to scrap net neutrality rules governing how internet providers handle web traffic has sparked a backlash.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, announced last month that the agency would vote to scrap its net neutrality rules of 2015, under which companies like Verizon and Comcast are barred from slowing down websites or creating internet ''fast lanes.''

The move ran into stiff opposition from net neutrality supporters, who have been rallying to save the rules for the better part of a year.

According to battleforthenet.com, as of last afternoon, at least 750,000 people have called Congress since Pai announced his plan and activists have planned hundreds of demonstrations at Verizon stores and congressional offices across the country next week in protest of the planned vote.

According to Evan Greer, the campaign director for the pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future, she was surprised by the outpouring of support for net neutrality in the days following Pai's announcement just before Thanksgiving.

Pai's move is expected to go through when the FCC votes on it this month. But according to Greer, it is important to pressure Congress to intervene.

''The reality is that Congress provides a critical role in overseeing the FCC,'' she said, thehill.com reported.

Meanwhile, professors at Harvard Business School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have cautioned against several aspects of the proposal.

According to James H Waldo, a computer science professor and the chief technology officer at SEAS, the arguments against net neutrality have evolved since the concept's inception.

''It started off with the idea that the Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon could do differential pricing based on the content of the package that was being delivered, the idea being that things like video took a lot more bandwidth than other forms of Internet traffic,'' Waldo said, www.thecrimson.com reported.

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