Does net neutrality have a future?

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) draft order on the open internet would roll back the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order, and order that internet access services no longer be considered as telecommunications services regulated under Title II of the U.S. Communications Act. This comes as no surprise because the FCC is now chaired by an appointee of the Republican party, Ajit Pai, who publicly opposed the FCC's Open Internet Order when it was adopted in 2015.

The issues concerning internet neutrality are highly politicized in the United States. Generally speaking, the Republican party defends a light-touch approach to regulation and the Democratic party supports a more proactive approach. Much of the U.S. debate revolves around the FCC's statutory powers to regulate internet service providers. The U.S. Communications Act, last updated in 1996, does not say a word about net neutrality. The FCC therefore had to search for a statutory basis to regulate.

In 2005, under the Bush administration, the FCC restricted itself to a non-binding statement of open internet principles. Under the Obama administration, the FCC attempted to adopt binding regulations based on Title I of the Communications Act, but its first attempt was struck down by the federal courts.

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