The Senate on Thursday confirmed two nominees for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)—Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, and Brendan Carr, a Republican—bringing the agency back to full staff and sparking fears among Open Internet activists and lawmakers that net neutrality will soon be under threat once more.
As Politico reports, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai now “has the votes he needs to roll back” the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prevents large telecommunications companies from controlling online content and requires that all traffic be treated equally. He also has an ally in Carr, who was a lawyer for large telecom companies.
Activists and Democratic lawmakers also raised alarm on Thursday as Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) met with some of the nation’s largest Internet service providers (ISPs)—including Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T—to discuss scrapping net neutrality, which some have labeled “the First Amendment of the Internet.”
Writing for Mashable, Dipayan Ghosh and Joshua Stager summarized why Open Internet advocates should be concerned about the meeting:
The meeting came in the midst of an unprecedented surge in support for net neutrality at the grassroots. As Free Press, an Open Internet advocacy group, noted last month: “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) docket for public comments on the existing net neutrality rules has already surpassed all records.”
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