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    US Communications Official Slams Obama’s Net Neutrality Plan As Power Grab

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    US Federal Communications Commission should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website, an US official said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama’s proposed net neutrality rules amount to an unlawful government power grab that will increase consumer costs, hinder innovation, and slow down the Internet, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Ajit Pai said in a statement on Friday.

    “President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is an unlawful power grab,” Pai said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes… The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds.”

    Pai also said the FCC lacked transparency as the FCC commissioners were presented with the proposed net neutrality rules on Thursday, but would not release the full text of the proposal.

    The FCC should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website,” Pai said. “Instead, it looks like the FCC will have to pass the President’s plan before the American people will be able to find out what’s really in it.”

    Pai said he would reveal information about the plans’ key aspects to the public next week.

    President Obama called on the FCC to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality” after a federal court struck down existing regulations and 4 million net neutrality advocates petitioned the FCC for stronger protections, according to a statement posted on the White House’s website.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined the Administration’s proposed new rules in a statement posted on the FCC’s website earlier this week.

    The proposal bars Internet service providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, or services, speeding up or slowing down access to content, or prioritizing certain sites in exchange for payment. For the first time, FCC rules would apply to mobile broadband Internet, the statement said.

    According to the statement, the proposal would reclassify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service, a designation that gives the FCC authority to regulate the Internet like a public utility, and requires companies to provide Internet services to everyone at uniform rates.

    Net neutrality advocates in the United States cautiously welcomed the new rules.

    “While we look forward to reviewing the details of the proposal, Chairman Wheeler’s decision to put forward legally defensible net neutrality rules is a landmark victory for free speech and the open internet,” Gabe Rottman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

    The FCC will vote on the proposal on February 26, according to Chairman Wheeler’s statement.

    Related:

    Victory for the Net? FCC Boss Proposes Making the Internet Public Utility
    Net Neutrality Victory? FCC Could Support Web Reclassification After All
    FCC to Release 680,000 'Missing' Net Neutrality Comments in 2015
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