FCC Prepares To Restore Net Neutrality, But The New Rules Might Be Weaker Than The Ones Discarded By Trump

The FCC has announced that it will vote to restore the net neutrality rules stripped away by the Trump administration during an agency meeting on April 25.

A reminder: net neutrality rules prevent giant telecoms from abusing their market power to disadvantage competitors and consumers alike. Either by degrading the performance of a service that competes with a telecom’s own offerings; or by preventing ISPs from charging consumers more money to access specific services and apps that have struck cozy deals with giant ISPs.

While years of debate have muddied the goal, the rules are a sloppy but necessary attempt to ensure level competition across U.S. broadband networks. With the vote, the FCC also intends to restore its Title II authority over broadband providers stripped away by Trump Incorporated (an effort you might recall involved no shortage of bullshit and fraud by telecoms and the GOP).

“A return to the FCC’s overwhelmingly popular and court-approved standard of net neutrality will allow the agency to serve once again as a strong consumer advocate of an open internet,” FCC boss Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

As always, there’s a catch: Stanford Law Professor and net neutrality guru Barbara van Schewick notes the new rules are technically weaker than the ones stripped away by the Trump administration, with several loopholes apparently lobbied for by industry (her FCC filing has more detail). My email inbox is filled with consumer groups lauding the move, yet none of them apparently thought this was worth a mention.