Ajit Pai: Repealing Net Neutrality Returns FCC to 'Rational' Approach Over Internet


Yesterday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced he had circulated among the members of the commission a draft version of his Restoring Internet Freedom Order. Pai, a Republican appointed by Trump in January, said the regulatory agency will vote at a December 14 meeting on his plan to rescind the so-called net neutrality rules, which treat internet service providers like public utilities. Although the FCC's two Democrats said they will oppose the proposal, the repeal is likely to prevail as Republicans dominate 3-2.

Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who drafted the 2015 net neutrality rules, called the proposal "tragic", adding that "if you like your cable company, you'll love what this does for the Internet".

The top U.S. telecom regulator formally unveiled plans Tuesday to roll back "net neutrality" rules adopted in 2015 aimed at treating all online traffic equally.

"Getting these utility style heavy handed regulations off the internet will encourage more companies to invest", Pai said.

He distributed his alternative plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a December 14 vote on the proposal.

"Nguyen compared repealing net neutrality to letting only a certain type of vehicle bypass traffic".

On Tuesday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., praised Pai's effort but renewed his call for a bipartisan compromise on net neutrality, saying it was the only way to "create long-term certainty for the internet ecosystem". To make matters worse, the commenting period that was to allow Americans to share their thoughts and feedback on the FCC's proposal to remove net neutrality rules may have been corrupted by what NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman called "fake comments".

His plan also would eliminate the "internet conduct standard", which gave the FCC far-reaching discretion to prohibit internet service provider practices deemed to violate a list of factors and sought to address future discriminatory conduct. "What they are telling me is not that their ISP is blocking access to lawful content, it's that they don't have access at all, or that they don't have enough competition".

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The announcement by Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai marked the latest twist in a decade-old political dispute with both sides claiming to represent a "free and open" internet.

"The FCC's net neutrality rules are working well for consumers, and we're disappointed in the proposal released today", Google said in a statement.

Pai says new "transparency" rules requiring policy disclosures by service providers will protect consumers. "We see that in the record, too, that some companies have held off with new service offerings because they're not sure whether they would be allowed under the rules".

Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said in an interview on Fox News Radio that Trump did not have any input on his proposal.

Net neutrality activist groups such as Free Press Action Fund criticized Pai's decision and accused him of bidding for Verizon.

"We are taking the very radical position as a Republican FCC that President Clinton got it right in the 1990s that a market-based approach to the internet is the right way to go", he said.

Commissioner Michael o'Reilly also supports the plan to reverse net neutrality rules.