Trump Sets Sights On Net Neutrality Rules

April 1, 2017, 3:47 PM UTC

Next up on President Donald Trump’s to-do list? Unraveling Obama-era net neutrality rules, the president’s spokesman Sean Spicer said late this week.

Enacted in February 2015 under then-president Barack Obama, these rules classified large companies like Comcast (CMCSA) that deliver Internet to consumers as public utilities. That meant those companies were unable to discriminate against content providers based on the type and amount of content delivered. The goal was to prevent them from providing fast lanes for some companies (including themselves) and slow lanes for other content providers like Netflix (NFLX), Google (GOOG), or Facebook (FB).

Besides Comcast, other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) affected by the rules include Charter Communications (CHTR) (which bought Time Warner last year), Verizon, and AT&T (T).

Trump’s disdain for net neutrality is no surprise. In January he appointed a vocal opponent Ajit Pai, a former Verizon (VZ) attorney, to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which oversees these regulations.

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At a press event Thursday, Spicer reiterated that Trump was determined “to reverse this overreach” which in his view lets Washington D.C. bureaucrats designate winners and losers among different types of companies, according to The New York Times.

This news came just days after the Republican-controlled Congress voted to reverse privacy rules that prevent ISPs from accessing and possibly selling personal browsing information. Supporters of the reversal said those rules force ISPs to do more to protect user privacy than companies like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB).


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