U.S. Federal Communications Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced her intention to swiftly reinstate net neutrality rules that were repealed during the Trump administration. She has requested her colleagues to vote on October 19 to reinstate the open internet rules that were implemented in 2015 under President Barack Obama. This move comes after Democrats gained majority control of the FCC for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. In 2017, the FCC voted to reverse the net neutrality rules that prohibited internet service providers from blocking or slowing down traffic, as well as offering paid fast lanes. Rosenworcel criticized the 2018 repeal, stating that it placed the agency on the wrong side of history, the law, and public opinion. She emphasized the need to correct this mistake and restore net neutrality. Additionally, she clarified that restoring net neutrality would not lead to rate regulations but would enhance the FCC’s authority to address internet outages. Rosenworcel also highlighted the national security loophole created by the repeal, which prevents the FCC from revoking authorization for state-affiliated broadband companies. The proposed reinstatement of net neutrality rules closely resembles the 2015 regulations but includes a provision to allow the FCC to block authorization for companies controlled by foreign adversaries on national security grounds. In 2022, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC’s 2017 decision to reverse federal net neutrality protections did not prevent states from implementing their own net neutrality laws. As a result, around 12 states have enacted net neutrality laws or regulations. Industry groups have abandoned further legal challenges against these state laws.
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