A demonstrator opposed to the roll back of net neutrality rules holds a sign outside the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules End June 11 as Challenges Proceed

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Communications Commission’s Obama-era requirement that internet service providers treat web content equally will end June 11 and be replaced by new rules compelling them to disclose their practices.

“On June 11, we will have a framework in place that encourages innovation and investment in our nation’s networks,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, said in an emailed statement, announcing the changeover. “And we will embrace a modern, forward-looking approach that will help the United States lead the world in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity.”

The White House has completed review of the revision passed in December by the Republican-led FCC, according to notice in federal register. During the review, the regulation approved by the panel when Barack Obama was president -- which forbids internet service providers from barring or slowing web traffic -- has remained in effect.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel lamented the change.

“The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people,” Rosenworcel said in an emailed statement. “It deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined, and ultimately reversed.”

The new rules are under challenge in the courts and by Congress.

Senate Democrats have vowed to force a vote, which could take place next week, to nullify the FCC gutting of old net neutrality rule. They’re using a mechanism that lets Congress override agency actions, and say they have 50 votes, including one from a Republican. That may be enough for passage. The measure isn’t likely to win a majority in the House, where Republicans hold a larger majority, or, if it did, be signed by President Donald Trump.

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