Stratechery: Ben Thompson: Pro-Net Neutrality, Anti-Title II

By Ben Thompson

Weirdly, this article about the American broadband market must start in Portugal.

Last week Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a draft orderthat would undo the 2015 reclassification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from what are known as “Title I information services” to “Title II telecommunication providers”; Title II of the Telecommunications Act, originally developed to regulate the AT&T monopoly, gives the FCC broad ability to regulate “common carriers” as utilities. Title I, on the other hand, hands off regulatory oversight to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The net effect of this reclassification would be the elimination of FCC rules restricting the ability of ISPs to block or throttle sites or apps or offer paid prioritization of any Internet content. That is certainly a worthy goal! Who could possibly be in favor of ISPs picking-and-choosing what sites you can visit based on what you are willing to pay? Do we really want to be like Portugal?

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