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Ethernet cables used for internet connection are seen at the headquarters of the Wnet internet service provider in Kiev
Unpacked

What is the Open Internet Rule?

Editor's Note:

In Unpacked, Brookings experts provide analysis of Trump administration policies and news."

THE ISSUE: In April 2017, Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission chairman under the Trump administration, announced a plan to roll back the Open Internet Rule. A signature telecom regulation of the Obama administration, the rule was made to ensure an open internet, or “net neutrality.” The new plan has received more than 20 million public comments and there is a push for congressional action.

The Open Internet Rule makes sure that internet, the most important network of the 21st century, is open and available to everybody, and not controlled by a handful of companies.

THE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai plans to reverse the agency’s open internet rules passed in 2015.
  • The Open Internet Rule makes sure that the internet, the most important network of the 21st century, is open and available to everybody, and not controlled by a handful of companies.
  • More than half of American consumers don’t have a choice when signing up for internet service, allowing monopolists to make the rules.
  • The Open Internet Rule, as it currently stands, ensures that there is oversight in the internet marketplace.
  • There are four companies, cable and telephone, that provide three-quarters of the access to the internet for American consumers, and they would prefer to be unregulated.
  • The Open Internet Rule is the law of the land that protects consumers. If Congress or the Trump administration’s FCC eliminate the rule, consumers will lose their current protections.
  • Without the Open Internet Rule, cable and phone companies will pick what you see, what you pay, and what you have to pay extra for.
  • Congress plays an important role in the oversight of the FCC and in how the internet is regulated. The Open Internet Rule has been successful in protecting consumers, in stimulating innovation, and in providing good returns for those who provide internet service. If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed.

RELATED CONTENT:

Keeping the internet open for the future

Net neutrality: The war is over

The Open Internet Rule expands online streaming video options

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