November 22, 2017 / 5:59 PM / a year ago

Democratic FCC Commissioner sides with keeping net neutrality rules

WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Democratic Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said on Wednesday she supported the net neutrality rules adopted by the U.S. communications regulator in 2015, saying a proposal by the FCC chairman to end Obama-era net neutrality rules would hurt consumers.

“The Commissioner continues to believe that the 2015 rules adopted by the FCC are the best way to protect consumers and small businesses while promoting innovation,” said a fact sheet prepared by Clyburn’s office.

Clyburn joins fellow Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel in opposing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plans to scrap landmark 2015 rules intended to ensure a free and open internet, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access.

With three Republican and two Democratic commissioners, the FCC is all but certain to approve the repeal. Republican President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to net neutrality in 2014 before the regulations were even implemented, calling it a “power grab” by then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

Clyburn said in the fact sheet that Pai’s proposal “eliminates all prohibitions against blocking and throttling (slowing down) applications by broadband providers, and enables them to engage in paid prioritization and unreasonable discrimination at the point of interconnection.

“It ignores thousands of consumer complaints and millions of individual comments that ask the FCC to save net neutrality and uphold the principles that all traffic should be created equal,” the statement added.

Pai, a Republican appointed by Trump in January, said the regulatory agency will vote at a Dec. 14 meeting on his plan to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules, which treat internet service providers like public utilities. (Reporting by Chris Sanders Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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