US regulator wants to reverse net neutrality

Image source, Eric Thayer/Getty
Image caption, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was named by President Donald Trump in January.

Top US communications regulator Ajit Pai has proposed reversing net neutrality rules for internet service providers.

The Obama-era measures prohibit broadband providers from giving or selling access to certain internet services over others.

Those who fought to get the rules passed said his proposal would set off a fierce political battle.

Mr Pai announced the plan to roll back net neutrality measures in Washington.

"Do we want the government to control the internet? Or do we want to embrace the light-touch approach" in place from 1996 until 2015, he said.

Mr Pai was named as Federal Communications Commission chair by President Donald Trump.

He said the current framework discourages the spread of high-speed internet to poor and rural communities.

"Title II has kept countless consumers from getting better internet access or getting access, period. It is widening the digital divide in our country."

The commission plans to seek comment on new rules - including how to address questions such as paid prioritization for some traffic - in the coming months.

Mr Pai was first appointed to the FCC by former US president Barack Obama and voted against the rules in 2015.

His plan for a roll back places him on the side of internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, which have opposed the rules.

In the 2015 debate, many people - galvanised in part by firms such as Netflix - wrote in support of net neutrality provisions.

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