Led by Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission and its two other GOP members on Thursday followed through on a promise to repeal the government's 2015 Net Neutrality Rules, which sought to force Internet providers to treat all online services, large and small, equally.
With Republicans controlling the levers of government, federal policy has swung to the right, in some respects eclipsing what would have been considered middle-of-the-road conservative positions just a decade ago, said Jeffrey Blumenfeld, co-chair of the antitrust and trade regulation practice at the law firm Lowenstein Sandler.
Consumer advocates fear that those freedoms could be curtailed in a world where Internet providers are legally permitted to give preferential treatment to sites they own or share commercial relationships with, and to discriminate against apps they do not like.
Powell, who now leads a top cable industry trade group, said that the repeal of the FCC's Net Neutrality rules is still consistent with the four freedoms he described nearly 14 years ago.
Advocates hailed the 2015 decision as a victory for consumer protection and a necessary step in light of how differently the Internet now looked compared to its earlier days, when fewer massive companies dominated the space.
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