Silicon Valley giants oppose FCC plan to repeal Net Neutrality

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is following through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally. (KGO-TV)

In Silicon Valley, it's rare to find a tech company with reserved parking spaces. Parking is open to all. In the same way, many of the signature companies in Silicon Valley think the internet should be open to all on an equal basis.

However, the Federal Communications Commission is preparing to repeal so-called "net neutrality" regulations enacted two years ago under the Obama Administration.

The FCC chairman, Republican Ajit Pai, is believes the concept stifles investment by internet service providers to improve online access. Pai is expected to roll out full details of his plan on Wednesday. There has been swift and immediate criticism from consumers, elected officials, internet companies, social media platforms and content providers. Netflix, Google, Facebook and Twitter, all based in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, are against repeal.

RELATED: What is net neutrality and what could the FCC's plans mean for you?

If the repeal is enacted, internet service providers (ISP's), such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, would be free to decide which content and which companies could get faster speeds, including their own. Opponents argue this would hurt competition and put smaller companies and start-up's at a disadvantage.

FCC chairman Pai said, "The FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them."

Verizon also favors repeal and less regulation. "We believe," Verizon said in a statement to ABC, "that users should be able to access the internet when, where, and how they choose, and our customers will continue to do so."

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and his board colleagues oppose repeal, saying stripping away net neutrality is a money grab for the ISP's, allowing them to make more money by charging content providers and services. That's good for shareholders, he said, but not good for consumers, who might see higher costs passed through to them. He and his fellow supervisors filed comments with the FCC last summer to support their position.

The pending FCC action was the number one trending topic on Twitter as word emerged from Washington. The FCC is scheduled to discuss and vote on net neutrality on Dec. 14.

Click here to follow David Louie on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Related Topics:
politicsinternetverizoncomcasttechnologysilicon valleySan Jose
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