Apr 26, 2017

FCC chief launches rollback of net neutrality rules

Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has fired the starting gun for rolling back the Obama-era's signature tech policy: strict net neutrality rules.

The argument: Pai's says his path forward will be better for competition, for the economy and for consumer access and privacy — and get rid of regulations that weren't needed in the first place. "Nothing about the internet was broken in 2015," he said about the current rules. "No, it was all about politics."

Pai's plan:

  • Reverse utility-style regulation for broadband providers and eliminate a broad conduct standard that gives the FCC authority to intervene in ISP behavior on case-by-case basis.
  • Ask for public comment on how the FCC should approach the rules banning internet providers from slowing or blocking content and from creating fast lanes.

The other side: Democratic policymakers, left-leaning groups and the tech industry aren't letting the rules go down without a fight.

What's next: The commission will vote on whether to formally consider his proposal — allowing the public to comment on his plan — at the agency's May meeting. A second vote will be required before any changes to take effect. He says he believes that will happen by the end of the year.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.