Open internet advocates this week expressed concern that President-elect Donald Trump’s two appointments to his Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transition team spell doom for net neutrality.
That policy, approved in a 2015 FCC ruling, ensures a level playing field on the internet by preventing internet service providers (ISP) from creating “fast lanes” that give special treatment for content creators or web companies that pay extra fees. The ruling was hailed as “the biggest win for the public interest in the FCC’s history.”
The Trump transition site announced the appointments of former Verizon consultant Jeff Eisenach and former Sprint lobbyist Mark Jamison Monday. Like Trump, the two are critics of net neutrality.
“If President-elect Trump were the least bit sincere about his claims to ‘drain the swamp’ of lobbyists and special-interest operatives, he couldn’t have done much worse than selecting these two,” writes Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy at Free Press. He continues:
ThinkProgress also notes that
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Anne Jellema, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, also expressed concern, telling the Guardian that the “appointments certainly don’t look like good news for net neutrality.”
“But President-elect Trump has promised to be a ‘president for all Americans,'” she added. “If he’s serious about this promise, we trust the transition team will pay heed to the over three million comments submitted just last year by Americans of all political stripes calling for strong net neutrality, and will respect the recent decision by a federal appeals court to uphold the FCC’s Open Internet order.”
According to Chris Lewis, vice president at Public Knowledge, “if folks want to eliminate these very important consumer protections that are wildly popular across ideological lines, the question is how are they going to protect an open internet if they eliminate these rules?”