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Net Neutrality Is In The News Again And Twitter Is Weighing In On Its Future

Twitter re-upped its support for net neutrality Friday as supporters for the controversial policy prepare to challenge the Trump administration in court for dinging the Obama-era internet regulation.

“An open Internet is vital to innovation, consumer choice, and free expression. Today we join @Mozilla, our industry peers, and public interest groups in supporting #NetNeutrality in the DC Circuit. Twitter stands with innovators and will continue to defend #NetNeutrality,” according to a statement posted on the Twitter Public Policy account.

Net neutrality regulations, which were approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, prohibited Verizon, Comcast, and others from blocking content and from charging websites for faster speeds. A coalition of groups sued the agency shortly after the Trump administration rolled back the rule in 2017.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s chief of staff, Matthew Berry, told reporters that legal precedence has given the agency ample discretion to repeal the rules.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has already affirmed the FCC’s authority to classify broadband as a Title I information service, and we have every reason to believe that the judiciary will uphold the FCC’s decision to return to that regulatory framework under which the internet flourished prior to 2015 and is continuing to thrive today,” Berry said.

Supporters of the rule argue it ensures a safe and open internet. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have expressed support for the rule. They also argue that the regulations would prevent content owners from paying broadband providers to “cut to the front of the line” at congested nodes of internet traffic, also known as “paid prioritization.” Such policies might force up prices, supporters argue.

“The FCC’s net neutrality repeal was both misguided as a matter of policy and unsound as a matter of law,” Sarah Morris, the deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute, told reporters Wednesday. “In the absence of net neutrality rules consumers are at the mercy of their internet service providers who have a well-documented history of interfering with access to content.”

There is no evidence that eliminating the rule negatively changed the internet. Wired magazine acknowledged in December 2018, a year after the end of net neutrality, that on the one-year anniversary of the repeal, there have been “no big changes.” Other outlets have noted something similar. Since the repeal of the Obama-era rule took effect in June 2018, internet speed went from 12th to 6th fastest in the world, according to media reports.

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