The FCC is holding its monthly meeting today with one extremely controversial item on the docket: its plan to end net neutrality. The proposal will remove the Title II classification of internet providers, pulling out the legal grounding used to enforce rules like no blocking, no throttling, and no paid fast lanes. In its place, the commission puts... well, nothing. The proposed rules merely require that ISPs inform you if they’re messing with your traffic. The FCC believes the Federal Trade Commission will take care of any problems that arise.
While FCC meetings are usually boring and genial events, today’s is likely to be a bit different. Two of the FCC’s five commissioners are fiercely opposed to the vote, and they’re likely to go all in when given a chance to speak on it. We’ve also seen protestors disrupt an FCC meeting before to get across their support of net neutrality — and while it’s not known if anything is planned for today, it’s certainly something to watch for given the issue’s enthusiastic support.
Let’s see if the live stream holds up
The meeting starts at 10:30AM ET (7:30AM PT) and is expected to run for two hours. Net neutrality is the fourth item on the docket, so expect at least half an hour of waiting before it comes up.
You’ll be able to watch the meeting stream on the FCC’s website. The service is usually pretty reliable, though we’ll see how it does under the stress of many additional viewers today. I don’t know how many people stream the typical FCC meeting, but I can’t imagine it’s all that many.
Here’s what to expect once the net neutrality portion of the meeting starts: each of the commissioners will get a chance to speak, discussing their support or opposition to the measure. The two commissioners against the proposal, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, are likely to speak at length. FCC chairman Ajit Pai will speak last, then hold a voice vote. With near certainty, the measure will pass 3 to 2. At that point, the FCC will have a few weeks to make final edits before sending the rules off to the Federal Register. Once they appear there, likely in a few months, net neutrality will officially be off the books.