With its final meeting of the year less than a month away, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to reveal the latest details of a plan to roll back the government’s net neutrality regulations this week. The result could reshape the entire digital ecosystem by giving internet providers more control over what their customers can see and access online and how quickly they can do it.
Under current rules, broadband companies such as Verizon and Comcast must treat all websites and online services equally. Verizon, for instance, isn’t allowed to deliver content from Yahoo, which it owns, to consumers any faster than it delivers competing content from Google. It also isn’t permitted to actively slow down or block Google services.
But the FCC is likely to change all that, analysts say, relaxing the Obama-era rules that required providers to behave like legacy telecom companies who must carry all phone calls on a nondiscriminatory basis. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai “will try to shrink the footprint of the rules,” said Daniel Berninger, a telecom engineer who has opposed the regulations. The FCC declined to comment.
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