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Report: FCC set to publish net neutrality repeal

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to publish shortly its December 2017 decision to repeal its net neutrality regulations, Reuters reported, citing sources.

The FCC ruling will reportedly be unveiled Feb. 21 and published on the Federal Register government website Feb. 22. The government's Office of Management and Budget will need to approve some aspects of the order before taking effect.

At the same time, the U.S. Congress will now have 60 legislative days from official publication to vote on whether to reverse the FCC's decision or not.

The commission voted 3-2 last year to adopt FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's order overturning the Open Internet Order of 2015. The new order eliminates the FCC's previous net neutrality rules, which prohibited network operators from blocking or throttling legal internet traffic, or prioritizing certain traffic in exchange for payment. It also reclassifies broadband as a Title I service under the Communications Act, giving the FCC less regulatory control over the service.

The decision sparked criticism from net neutrality proponents and other industry groups. Industry observers have also said the order could threaten the viability of community banks and other small businesses.

There have been recent efforts at the state level to get around the FCC's net neutrality reversal. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has signed an executive order requiring successful recipients of state contracts to adhere to net neutrality principles, while the House of Representatives in Washington state passed a bill to prevent internet providers from blocking content or "throttling" internet traffic.

More recently, on Feb. 16, a group of more than 20 state attorneys general and advocacy groups withdrew their legal challenge against the FCC order, agreeing to refile the petition once the ruling is published, according to Reuters.