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Rural internet providers applaud FCC move to kill net neutrality rules

Rural internet providers applaud FCC move to kill net neutrality rules
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A group of small, rural broadband companies on Thursday praised the Federal Communications Commission’s moves to repeal its net neutrality rules.

The internet providers, all members of the trade group USTelecom, wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauding him for his “vision and leadership” in moving to repeal the net neutrality regulations.

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The letter expressed support for principles of net neutrality, like treating all web traffic equally, but criticized the FCC’s move to reclassify the broadband providers as telecommunications services, which opened them up to tougher, public utility-style regulation.

“Rural America urgently needs a smarter and more practical approach than rules based on laws written when our grandparents were stringing the countryside with copper and even cattle wire to connect neighbors on old party line telephones,” the letter reads.

Pai announced last week that he would begin proceedings to repeal the regulations, which were passed in 2015 under the Obama administration’s Democrat-controlled FCC.

The rules prompted widespread grassroots support, but were mostly opposed by the telecom industry.

“We are behind you, sir, and urge you to stay the course by moving forward in a way that allows for vigorous, continued investment in rural broadband networks, and at the same time ensure a smarter path to net neutrality,” the groups wrote on Thursday.

The FCC will vote to solicit public comment on repealing the rules on May 18.