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FCC releases proposal to gut net neutrality rules

The public will have about three months to comment on the proposal, which would roll back Obama-era rules.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has submitted a proposal to undo Obama-era net neutrality rules.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday published the text of its proposal to roll back the agency's net neutrality rules, allowing the public to comment on the new plan.

The agency's commissioners voted along party lines in support of the proposal (PDF), which aims to fulfill FCC Chairman FCC Ajit Pai's promise to eliminate the utility-style regulatory framework the FCC adopted in 2015. Under the proposal, the FCC would throw out the legal underpinnings of the net neutrality order, which reclassified broadband as a so-called Title II utility service under the Communications Act.

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of whether you're checking Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram or streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon. Even though most people agree with the basic premise of net neutrality, the FCC's rules have become a lightning rod for controversy because they placed broadband providers under the same strict regulations that govern telephone networks.

"With this Notice, the Commission initiates a new rulemaking that proposes to restore the market-based policies necessary to preserve the future of Internet Freedom, and to reverse the decline in infrastructure investment, innovation, and options for American consumers put into motion by the Commission in 2015," the notice of proposed rulemaking states.

The 75-page proposal, titled "Restoring Internet Freedom," invites the public to weigh in on the proposal for a period of about three months.

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