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With Heavy Edits, FCC Commissioner Turns Pai's Plan to Kill Net Neutrality Into One That Would Save It

Mignon Clyburn, the FCC Democrat who circulated the "alternative" plan, has called Pai's proposals "worse than one could imagine"

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn uses a megaphone to address about 60 demonstrators gather outside of the 31st Annual Chairman's Dinner to show their support for net neutrality at the Washington Hilton December 7, 2017. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

With the FCC's vote on chairman Ajit Pai's plan to eliminate net neutrality protections just two days away, Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn circulated an "alternative" proposal that transforms Pai's policy document into a plan to save the open internet by axing the bulk of its contents and leaving just a few words intact.

"After further review of the record, we affirm the 2015 Open Internet Order," reads the heavily edited blueprint, which Clyburn said she plans to share with her colleagues ahead of Thursday's vote.

Clyburn also recommendated that Pai change the plan's title from "Restoring Internet Freedom" to "Retaining Internet Freedom."

Clyburn and her fellow Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who both helped pass the 2015 net neutrality protections, have been outspoken about their opposition to Pai's proposals since they were unveiled just before Thanksgiving.


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As Common Dreams reported, Clyburn released a fact sheet late last month aimed at helping Americans interpret the "jargon" Pai has deployed to justify his "destructive" proposals.

Pai's proposals are "worse than one could imagine" for consumers, Clyburn recently concluded.

The FCC commissioner's "alternative" plan comes as internet defenders—with the support of some of the web's pioneers—are ramping up pressure on their representatives to take action against Pai's deeply unpopular effort to kill net neutrality. In addition to online efforts to call attention to the potential consequences of Pai's proposals, hundreds of protests have taken place in all 50 states over the past week, demonstrating the vast public support for net neutrality that has been reflected in opinion polls and public comments.

By flouting the will of the public and moving to kill net neutrality, "the three men who make up the FCC's majority remain determined to ignore the democratic process and take away the rights of internet users," Mary Alice Crim, field director for the Free Press Action Fund, said in a recent statement.

But "one thing is certain," Crim concluded. "Chairman Pai won't have the last word on net neutrality."

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