FCC Starts Clock On Net Neutrality Repeal, Faces Lawsuits

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The repeal is set to take effect April 23, according to the order.

The FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom Order" passed in December and repealed the agency's net neutrality order.

On Thursday, Senator Richard Blumenthal, who said the Senate is one vote short in its effort to save net neutrality, visited a few start up companies in New Haven.

Net neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the internet is treated equally.

Now that the FCC's decision is in the Federal Register, state attorneys general and advocacy groups can file lawsuits challenging it.

Before December's vote, the attorneys general of almost 20 states asked the FCC to delay its decision based on evidence that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commissions' notice of the proposed rule change.

"Repealing the net neutrality rules will give internet service providers more power and control over the websites we can visit, and it would make it harder for small businesses and innovators to compete online", says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.

As expected, the FCC has voted to eliminate the requirement that broadcasters and cable operators keep paper copies of the FCC's regulations on hand, the latest in a series of actions to whack away at regulations FCC Chair Ajit Pai has said are part of a regulatory underbrush allowed to grow for too long. They will also be permitted to charge customers a premium for access to certain types of service - like streaming video - or even block access to specific sites altogether if they wish. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) claimed in January that he has a 50-vote majority in the Senate to pass such a repeal through Congress' upper chamber. Sen. But the GOP-controlled House is unlikely to pass such a measure, and President Donald Trump is unlikely to sign it.

On the other side, technology firms including Google's parent company Alphabet Inc and Facebook have thrown their weight behind the congressional bid to reverse the net neutrality repeal.

With the official publishing of Pai's order to the Federal Register happening Thursday, expect to see more lawsuits aiming to defend net neutrality hitting any day now.

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