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Federal Regulators Seek To Ease Rules For Internet Providers

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai during a hearing on net n...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai during a hearing on net neutrality on Feb. 26, 2015.

Federal Regulators Seek To Ease Rules For Internet Providers


Art Neill, executive director, New Media Rights at California Western School of Law


The debate over net neutrality is back.

That’s the principle that internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon should not block or slow down user access to specific websites, or allow individual sites to pay for faster access to customers.

Federal regulators want to undo some of the rules put in place under President Barack Obama that treated internet providers more like utilities. While they say they support the idea of net neutrality, they argue Obama’s rules from 2015 were too much of a burden.

Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai said last week that 22 small internet providers told the agency that the utility-like regulations had affected their access to financing.

"They said 'it had slowed, if not halted, the development and deployment of innovative new offerings which would benefit our customers,'" Pai said.

Pai would rather allow the Federal Trade Commissions to take the lead on protecting consumers. The FCC will vote May 18 on Pai's proposal to rollback net neutrality rules. If approved, there will be a months-long public comment period.

Art Neill, executive director of New Media Rights at California Western School of Law, joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about the impact these changes could have on consumers and startups.


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