The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday said that it plans to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules that were enacted in 2015 as a way to ensure that “all Web content, whether from big or small companies, would be treated equally by Internet providers,” as explained by the Washington Post this morning.

The FCC, arguing that these rules suppress innovation and are an example of regulatory overreach that reduces the incentive to invest in new technologies, would instead “give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers see and use,” the Post writes. “Under the agency’s proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, would be able to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery of their content.”

The proposed change was cheered by cable, broadband and wireless companies, but decried by “Internet companies and activists who vowed to hold demonstrations ahead of the FCC's vote.”

The New York Times writes this morning that “the biggest concern is that the internet will become pay-to-play technology with two tiers: one that has speedy service and one that doesn’t. The high-speed lane would be occupied by big internet and media companies, and affluent households. For everyone else there would be the slow lane.”

The Post writes that the FCC will require some level of transparency: “If a provider chose to block or slow certain websites, or gave preferable treatment to content that it owned or had partnerships with, that provider would have to inform consumers of its policy on an easily accessible website.”

KC's View: Just great. That’s all we need - companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, as well as my personal favorite, Cablevision, all of which are like robber barons in how they approach their customers - getting even more power and the ability to rip off their customers even more.

It won’t hurt big companies like Google and Netflix and Amazon and Walmart/Jet, all of which will be able to afford to pay higher fees to be in the fast lane. But if you are a smaller, entrepreneurial company that is trying to innovate but doesn’t have deep pockets, you’re probably screwed. And, because cable companies and internet providers have all the morals of Don Fabrizio Fanucci, they’ll also no doubt figure out a way to charge their consumer customers more, too. Because, in the end, they’re all about making money and providing shareholder benefits.

John Oliver, on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” providing a scathing assessment of the net neutrality issue back in 2014, when the Obama administration considered abandoning the principle; in the end, it did not, in part because of a public outcry at least partially instigated by Oliver’s commentary. But “Last Week Tonight” is on hiatus until January, so we’ll have to wait until his return for him to do a bit of rabble-rousing, by which point it’ll probably be too late.

We live in a world where pretty much everybody hates their cable company. But now we know there is at least someone who likes his cable/internet provider - Ajit Pai, the Trump administration’s guy at the FCC. He’s about to make them a lot richer by reinforcing their monopolistic business model.