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FCC wants to treat mobile Internet differently from wireline, votes to undo Open Internet rules

Even as India's telecom regulator TRAI looks to find ways to detect and prohibit behaviour that violates Net Neutrality, the FCC said that it would reclassify mobile Internet providers as "private mobile services". This reclassification is designed to give mobile Internet operators much more freedom in how they operate their networks and manage traffic in them compared to wireline broadband operators, and could protect them from any regulatory measures related to the Internet. Since 2014, Indian telecom operators have also argued that mobile Internet needs to be treated differently from wireline networks. This move is a part of a wider FCC vote to begin a process to undo similar rules in the US that prohibited such discriminatory behaviour by Internet providers. Ajit Pai, the FCC's chairman, said that these "utility-style" regulations had led to a decrease in broadband infrastructure investment in the billions of dollars. Pai's efforts are likely to succceed, notwithstanding any legal challenges that are likely to come up when the new rules (or the lack thereof) are implemented. What the FCC is repealing The Open Internet rules by the FCC in 2015 were the culmination of a long and vocal campaign by Internet companies and Net Neutrality activists in the US. The rules put major restraints on how broadband providers were able to discriminate among traffic that went through their networks. For instance, a video company would now not be able to pay for Internet providers to put their traffic on a 'fast lane' where Internet traffic was artificially sped…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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