The Free Internet Project

net neutrality

U.S. Federal Communications Commission votes to repeal net neutrality law


On December 14, 2017, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal Obama's net neutrality protections. These now-eliminated protections include barring internet providers from slowing down or blocking access to online content, and prohibiting internet providers from promoting their own content. Ajit Pai, Chairman of the FCC, stated "[the repeal] is not going to destroy the internet. It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online."

Others, have voiced strong opinions against the repeal. "This is a matter of enormous importance with significant implications for our entire economy and therefore merits the most thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful process that can be provided," stated Maine Senators Susan Collins, Republican, and Angus King, independent. The FCC also received millions of comments supporting current net neutrality protections.

States have voiced their stance against the FCC's net neutrality protection repeals. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has declared intentions to sue to stop the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality, stating "We will be filing a claim to preserve protections for New Yorkers and all Americans. And we’ll be working aggressively to stop the FCC’s leadership from doing any further damage to the internet and to our economy.” Washington State Attorney Bob Ferguson also announced his intention to take action, stating "Today, I am announcing my intention to file a legal challenge to the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality, along with attorneys general across the country." Other states, including Oregon, Illinois, Iowa, and Massachusetts, will join the lawsuit as well.

Mark Zuckerberg appeals to India before key decision on platform, amid protests of net neutrality violation

Ahead of a key decision by India's telecommunications regulatory body, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a blog post in the Times of India to defend his nonprofit, which provides free (but limited) Internet access to under-served areas.  The service is called "Free Basics," which enables users to access the Internet but only for a limited number of apps, such as weather, Wikipedia, and, yes, Facebook. Other app developers can apply to to be included in Free Basics.   

India's Department of Telecommunications issues report in favor of net neutrality

This week, India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued its report in favor of net neutrality. [Download]  One of the more controversial aspects of the report involves over the top services (OTT), such as VoIP apps Skype and WhatsApp that enable people to make calls over the Internet.  The panel recommended taking a bifurcated approach to OTT services: regulating apps that enable local and national calls in India (in competition with and cheaper than local carriers), but not regulating apps with respect to international calls and messaging.   

India's government will decide the final policy after receiving comments from the telecom industry. 

Mark Zuckerberg defends nonprofit's limited Internet service from criticisms of conflict with net neutrality

In April 2015, Mark Zuckerberg visited India to help promote his nonprofit's efforts to provide Internet access to the billions of people around the world (two thirds of the world's popoulation) who still lack Internet access.  The nonprofit provides a smartphone app with free Internet access that is limited to several programs, including Facebook (minus the ads): "The app provides free basic services in markets where internet access may be less affordable.

FCC net neutrality rule PDF download

The FCC issued its net neutrality rule in a 400 page document titled "Open Internet FCC-15-24A1." The rule itself is only 8 pages, but there is a lot of explanation. The rule can be downloaded by clicking here

FCC Chairman Wheeler follows Pres. Obama's lead and proposes strong net neutrality rule in U.S.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, following the lead of Pres. Barack Obama, proposed a strong rule to protect net neutrality.  As Wheeler explains in a Wired article, he will seek the FCC to reclassify broadband service as a telecommunications service subject to common carrier requirements under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934

Net Neutrality Debate Hits Turning Point as Pres. Obama Comes out with Strong Plan to Protect Net Neutrality

After months of standing on the sidelines in the contentious debate over whether to adopt net neutrality in the United States, President Barack Obama has finally spoken.  The timing is pretty late, but it may well be that the President was waiting until after the mid-term elections to take a stand on what would be a controversial decision regardless of which way the President came out.  Yesterday, the President gave a full-throated endorsement of adopting a principle of net neutrality that would forbid companies from creating paid fastlanes on the Internet for those companies that can afford it.