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FCC and FTC outline how they’ll cooperate after net neutrality vote

They’ll meet regularly and share expertise.
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NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

The FCC is scheduled to vote on its proposal to roll back net neutrality protections on December 14th and ahead of that vote, the FCC and FTC have released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding each agency's role in policing internet service providers after the proposal is passed. Once the proposal is approved, the FTC will regain some of the oversight it had prior to the 2015 reclassification of internet service, which means both the FTC and FCC will share jurisdiction over internet service providers (ISPs) going forward. "The MOU we are developing with the FCC, in addition to the decades of FTC law enforcement experience in this area, will help us carry out this important work," said FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen in a statement.

The two agencies have agreed that the FCC will monitor broadband market entry barriers and review complaints it receives from consumers. It will also have the ability to take action against companies that don't properly inform the public of any throttling, blocking or prioritization practices as per the new order. The FTC can also take action against companies that don't disclose that information adequately or engage in any marketing, advertising or promotional activities deemed deceptive, unfair or unlawful. The FCC and FTC will also meet regularly to discuss any investigations against ISPs and will share legal and technical expertise when necessary.

Overall, the MOU outlines a fairly vague plan to cooperate. However, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sees it differently. "The Memorandum of Understanding will be a critical benefit for online consumers because it outlines the robust process by which the FCC and FTC will safeguard the public interest," he said in a statement.

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