Internet and Technology
June 15, 2017
Will eased regulations benefit consumers and providers?

Recent developments affecting online access and privacy are raising new questions about the future of the internet. On May 18, the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to undo net-neutrality regulations established by the Obama administration that require high-speed internet service providers (ISPs) to provide equal access to all content. And in March, President Trump signed a bill rescinding an FCC regulation requiring ISPs to get consumers’ permission before selling their browsing data to marketers. In addition, AT&T’s pending $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner is expected to take effect before year’s end, Google and Uber are battling over self-driving cars, and Elon Musk, founder of automaker Tesla, has launched a company that aims to merge computers with human brains.

Ajit Pai, newly appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), discusses his agency’s plans to dismantle the Obama administration’s net-neutrality rules. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)   Ajit Pai, newly appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), discusses his agency’s plans to dismantle the Obama administration’s net-neutrality rules at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on May 5, 2017, in Washington. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 on May 18 to move ahead with plans to dismantle net-neutrality rules adopted by the Obama administration in 2015. Those rules, part of the Open Internet Order, reclassified ISPs as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and required them to provide equal access and internet speeds to all content providers and applications. 1

ISPs had to make movie streaming services available to Netflix or Apple’s FaceTime video-calling app, for example, without charging those providers different prices. 2

RELATED REPORTS