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More than 200 U.S. firms urge FCC to drop plan to end net neutrality

Staff Writer |
More than 200 companies are urging U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to reconsider his plan to end net neutrality, which they claimed would ensure equal treatment of online traffic, media reports said.

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"Because of the open Internet, a web developer can launch a business out of their own apartment, an aspiring fashion designer in Wyoming can sell clothes in Los Angeles, or a caterer can find new customers in their town," they said in a letter dated Monday.

On Dec. 14, the FCC is scheduled to vote on Pai's plan, which would scrap net neutrality regulations established in 2015 under former President Barack Obama's administration.

The rules intended to ensure a free and open Internet and prohibited Internet providers from prioritizing certain content over others.

"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week released a draft order that would end this open commerce by repealing the current net neutrality rules and eliminating the protections that keep the Internet free and open for America's businesses and consumers," the companies said.

Pai, who is a Republican-appointed chairman by President Donald Trump, argued that the old Obama-era rules would harm broadband investment and tech innovation, which proponents have strongly denied.

The media reports cited a top executive of the ISP Sonic based in Santa Rosa, about 100 km north of San Francisco on the western U.S. coast, which is one of the signatories of Monday's letter, as challenging Pai's earlier statements that net neutrality rules keep smaller Internet service providers from expanding or innovating.