via MIT Technology Review
by Mike Orcutt
January 30, 2017
We’ll likely see new business models and video streaming products from the big ISPs if Trump removes net neutrality rules, and upstart content providers could struggle to compete.
The “days are numbered” for the net neutrality rules enacted by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission under Barack Obama, at least if you take President Trump’s newly appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s word for it. So what happens after they are gone?
Pai, an FCC commissioner since 2012, was a harsh critic of the agency’s “Open Internet Order,” which it passed in 2015 via a 3-2 party line vote. It bans Internet service providers from blocking or throttling legal content. It also prohibits them from engaging in business arrangements in which companies pay ISPs a premium to have their traffic prioritized, and gives the FCC the authority to police other practices it deems unfair or harmful to consumers on a case-by-case basis.
It’s not that Pai disagrees with the general concept of “net neutrality,” which is broadly a bipartisan issue. What Pai and other opponents of the Open Internet Order say they are most upset about is that it changed how the FCC classifies broadband from an “information service” to a “telecommunications service.” That gave it the authority to impose strict, utility-style regulations on ISPs.
Though President Trump has said very little about his views on net neutrality, his nomination of Pai suggests he is on board with eliminating the regulations. In the meantime, his FCC could simply choose not to enforce the rules.