NY attorney general asks for net neutrality vote to be put off

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York's attorney general urged the Federal Communications Commission to delay a vote rolling back net neutrality rules because of the large number of fake comments submitted to the agency on the issue.

The FCC is expected to vote on Feb. 14 on Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to scrap the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules, moving to give broadband service providers sweeping power over what content consumers can access. Pai is a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating allegations that more than half of the 21.7 million public comments submitted to the FCC about net neutrality used temporary or duplicate email addresses and appeared to include false or misleading information.

Schneiderman said the FCC agreed on Monday to assist in the probe. "We’re going to hold them to that – and, in the meantime, it’s vital that the FCC delay the vote until we know what happened," said Schneiderman.

The 2015 rules changed the designation of internet service providers, or ISPs, usually big cable and telephone companies, so they were banned from blocking or throttling (slowing) legal content or from seeking payments to speed delivery of certain content, called "paid prioritization."

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who opposes the net neutrality rollback, agreed that the vote should be delayed.

"The integrity of the public record matters. The FCC needs to get to the bottom of this mess. No vote should take place until a responsible investigation is complete," she said.

Under Pai's proposal, the Obama-era rules would be reversed and ISPs would only have to disclose blocking or throttling.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler)

12/04/2017 17:26

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