What Netflix, Comcast and others are saying about the FCC’s plan to end net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission is charging ahead with its plan to end “open internet” protections, referred to as net neutrality, that it says were unnecessarily heavy-handed regulations.

The reversal of the Obama-era internet regulations has been intensely debated by internet companies, activists and internet users.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday, along with circulating his proposal, detailed in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece his plans for how the internet, its providers and the companies who do business on its highways should be governed.

Don’t miss: Why Americans should brace for an internet where not all websites are treated equally

“I’m proposing today that my colleagues at the Federal Communications Commission repeal President Obama’s heavy-handed internet regulations,” Pai wrote. “Instead the FCC simply would require internet service providers to be transparent so that consumers can buy the plan that’s best for them. And entrepreneurs and other small businesses would have the technical information they need to innovate.”

The FCC plans to make its draft order public on Wednesday, ahead of an official vote on the proposed rule changes on Dec. 14.

Netflix Inc. NFLX, -0.72%  tweeted on Tuesday that it supports strong net-neutrality rules, and that it opposes the commission’s proposal to roll back protections.

Also read: Netflix ‘publicly and loudly’ opposes the FCC’s net neutrality rule reversal

Those opposed to the reversal say getting rid of the protections will allow internet service providers (ISPs) to throttle the connection of some sites, giving preferential treatment to others at a price. FCC officials say ISPs will have to disclose any such actions, which will then be reviewed, most likely by the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission.

The majority of those major ISPs are in favor of the FCC returning to, what the commission is calling, a “light-touch” approach to internet regulation.

Check out: Netflix, Amazon, Twitter and others band together in protest of possible net neutrality rule reversal

“We applaud the chairman’s efforts to repeal the ill-advised and outdated burden of Title II classification, which has harmed broadband investment and innovation.” wrote David Cohen, Comcast Corp.’s chief diversity officer in a company blog post on Tuesday.

Though Comcast CMCSA, -0.07%  argues investment and innovation has been stifled, in the company’s most recent third quarter earnings report it said that capital expenditures increased 1.2% year-over-year, reflecting, among other things, a higher level investment in scalable infrastructure to increase network capacity.

In January, Comcast Chief Financial Officer, Michael Cavanagh, told investors that the company has maintained the best broadband product through “consistent investment and innovation.” One of the FCC’s main drivers for reversing current net neutrality regulation, however, is a perceived bind it puts on that very industry investment and innovation.

Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, +1.94%  said in a blog post that it supports the FCC reverting to pre-Obama internet regulation, as did Charter Communications Inc. CHTR, -1.11%

“We’re very encouraged by Chairman Pai’s announcement today that the FCC will move forward next month to restore the successful light-touch regulatory framework for internet services,” wrote Verizon’s deputy general counsel for public policy and government affairs, Kathy Grillo. “The FCC appears poised for a much-needed return to the approach that fostered so many years of internet openness and innovation.”

While throwing their support behind the FCC’s proposed approach to internet regulation, Comcast; Verizon and Charter have vowed to uphold open internet ideals.

See: John Oliver calls on time-wasters and Trump trolls to swarm FCC website

Read: New York attorney general says FCC won’t aid probe into fake net-neutrality comments

“Comcast does not and will not block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content,” wrote Comcast Cable’s Chief Executive Dave Watson. “We will continue to make sure that our policies are clear for consumers and we will not change our commitment to these principles.”

AT&T Inc. T, +1.59%  has not said anything publicly about the FCC’s most recent step toward ending current net-neutrality rules, but back in July the company joined the likes of Netflix, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.34%  and Twitter Inc. TWTR, +1.37%  in supporting a day of action to defend net neutrality.

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