By Sarah McCammonThe Latest News:Friday, May 06, 2020 18:38:10The GOP and the Democrats on Thursday blasted the Federal Communications Commission for a plan that would require internet service providers to pay them to block, slow or otherwise throttle websites that use their networks.
While the Obama administration did not require broadband providers to charge companies for blocking or slowing websites, Republican Chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday that the FCC should impose a fee on internet service companies to encourage them to do so.
The proposal, which the Republican chairman called “unnecessary and impractical,” would be the latest in a series of attempts to make internet service a more affordable option for consumers and businesses.
Pai said the proposal would allow the government to “control the costs of delivering the internet to consumers.”
“The FCC should not impose an artificial barrier on competition and competition should not be driven by government,” Pai said.
“The FCC’s current policy encourages companies to charge content providers for access to consumers.
If the FCC truly wants to protect consumers and to preserve competition, the FCC must repeal this harmful policy and allow the free market to deliver the internet.”
In recent years, internet service has become an important battleground in the fight for internet freedom, with internet service plans, such as Comcast’s Xfinity, gaining ground on incumbent companies like AT&T and Verizon.
Pai, a former Republican commissioner, also said the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules should be overturned, saying the regulations unfairly prevented small internet providers from providing internet access to those who couldn’t afford to pay.
“We have the ability to do everything we want to do to protect the internet,” Pai told reporters in a press conference.
“It is up to us to protect it, and we have the opportunity to do that.
We are the gatekeepers of the internet.
It is our responsibility to ensure that it stays that way.”
In a statement Thursday, Comcast called the proposed fee “unjust, unnecessary and impractical.”
“Consumers have a right to control how their data is used and Comcast has been the clear voice for consumers demanding that our internet providers offer the best service possible,” Comcast said.
“Our customers have already shown us that they want a more competitive and fair internet.
Comcast is proud of its leadership in delivering an open internet that includes the best options for consumers, and our customers will see no cost to pay for our service.”