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The Trump-appointed head of the US Federal Communications Commission capped more than a decade of wrangling on Tuesday with a plan to sweep away all the rules preventing US broadband companies from favouring some types of internet traffic over others.
Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, said the agency would vote at its next meeting in December on a proposal to scrap Obama-era regulations that bar network owners from slowing or blocking traffic, or charging more for internet “fast lanes”.
Mr Pai had made the reversal of the so-called net neutrality rules, adopted in 2015, the centrepiece of his promise to “fire up the weed whacker” to cut through US communications and media regulations. Republican commissioners hold a 3-2 majority on the commission, paving the way for formal adoption in December.
The expected move marks a significant victory for telecoms and cable companies, led by AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, which have argued for years that the regulations unfairly tie their hands and reduce the incentive to invest in new networks. It has been widely attacked by big internet companies, as well as a broad coalition of internet activists and grassroots organisations.