It was a move that had been widely expected. Dispite being elected to protect white male Americans from evil corporate culture, Trump's FCC has been keen to remove as much legislation which stops the US's telco's from stinging voters as possible. It is a little difficult for people in Europe to understand. We moved away from regional monopolies over our telcos in the 1970s and opened the whole lot to competition. In the US, despite declaring the value of market competition, successive governments have bowed to lobbying dollars and let the Telcos set up regional monopolies.
Now all that power has come to bear on the Internet. The telcos want the right to charge big traffic users such as Google and Facebook for using their tubes. The fact that they have denied wanting to do this is meaningless. If they didn't want to do they would not have spent a fortune in courts, and lobbying politicians to change the laws to stop them.
Now they have won. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on Thursday to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters the administration “supports the FCC’s efforts."
However it is not over yet. The FCC said the rules would take effect in a few months after the White House Office of Management and Budget formally approves them. That might not be a done deal as there are some on both side of the house who see reason.
To make matters worse it will make the US internet more expensive and less useful than the European version. Smaller startups are already worries that alack of restrictions could drive up costs or lead to their content being blocked.
The Republicans are also acting against what the majority of people want. Polls showing a repeal is deeply unpopular and the move has given capital to the opposition Democrats. A University of Maryland poll had found more than 80 percent of respondents opposed a repeal. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in a statement he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the reversal. Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat, said he and 15 other senators planned to introduce a resolution to undo the FCC action and restore the net neutrality rules.
Several state attorneys general said before the vote they would oppose the ruling, citing issues with the public comment period. Other critics have said they will consider challenging what they see as weaker enforcement.
The 2015 rules were intended to give consumers equal access to web content and prevent broadband providers from favoring their own content. Those practices are now allowed as long as they are disclosed.
It is a typically dumb move from the US administation. It has created a storm where one did not exist before and people were largely happy. It is bringing in a situation that no-one wants while failing to tackle the problems that people want fixed. The only people who benefit only a few fat cat telcos who, if Trump where really keen on helping US business he would be bringing in laws to encourage the break up. The result of the coming storm will see the US people as a victim of Evil Corp style greed, while the rest of the world prospers under a more liberal internet regime.