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FCC Rescinds Claim That AT&T and Verizon Violated Net Neutrality

Accepted submission by Fnord666 at 2017-02-04 06:29:01

The Federal Communications Commission's new Republican leadership has rescinded a determination that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality rules with paid data cap exemptions. The FCC also rescinded several other Wheeler-era reports and actions.

The FCC released its report [] on the data cap exemptions (aka "zero-rating") in the final days of Democrat Tom Wheeler's chairmanship. Because new Chairman Ajit Pai opposed the investigation, the FCC has now formally closed the proceeding.

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau sent letters to AT&T [], Verizon [], and T-Mobile USA [] notifying the carriers "that the Bureau has closed this inquiry. Any conclusions, preliminary or otherwise, expressed during the course of the inquiry will have no legal or other meaning or effect going forward." The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau also sent a letter to Comcast closing an inquiry into the company's Stream TV cable service, which does not count against data caps [].

The FCC issued an order [] that "sets aside and rescinds" the Wheeler-era report on zero-rating. All "guidance, determinations, and conclusions" from that report are rescinded, and it will have no legal bearing on FCC proceedings going forward, the order said.

[...] Pai opposed Wheeler's zero-rating investigation, saying [] that free data offerings are "popular among consumers precisely because they allow more access to online music, videos, and other content free of charge." He has also vowed to overturn [] the FCC's net neutrality rules and hasn't committed to enforcing them [] while they remain in place.

"While this is just a first step, these companies, and others, can now safely invest in and introduce highly popular products and services without fear of commission intervention based on newly invented legal theories," Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said today.

Source: []

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