A new ruling from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has cast further doubt on the future of net neutrality.
Verizon and AT&T were previously under FCC inquiry regarding free-data programs.
It was alleged that both companies were using the free-data programs to favour certain products – particularly video and music streaming.
That goes against the principle of net neutrality – which states all traffic on the internet should be treated the same.
However, under the Trump-appointed FCC Chair Ajit Pai, the FCC has dropped their inquires into both Verizon and AT&T.
Pai released a statement on the matter:
“Today, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is closing its investigation into wireless carriers’ free-data offerings. These free-data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace. Going forward, the Federal Communications Commission will not focus on denying Americans free data. Instead, we will concentrate on expanding broadband deployment and encouraging innovative service offerings.”
Ajit Pai is a well-known opponent of net neutrality, as are many Republicans. Their opposition stems from the belief that not allowing companies to offer different speeds and favour certain internet traffic amounts to onerous government regulation.
The fact that the FCC has dropped their investigation points to a more business-friendly FCC in the Trump era, and makes it clear that net neutrality may not be long for this world.
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