Tags: fcc | net neutrality | rollback

FCC Net Neutrality: Pai Starts Push to Roll Back Obama Rules

Image: FCC Net Neutrality:  Pai Starts Push to Roll Back Obama Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 27 Apr 2017 08:27 AM

The FCC's net neutrality rules adopted in 2015 would be rolled back under plans revealed on Wednesday by its new chairman, Ajit Pai, who said the Obama-era regulation was harmful to businesses.

In announcing the changes, Pai argued that the Federal Communications Commission regulations designed to ensure all online content is treated the same went too far and weren't necessary for an open Internet, reported The New York Times.

"Two years ago, I warned that we were making a serious mistake," Pai said in a speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. "It's basic economics. The more heavily you regulate something, the less of it you’re likely to get."

Pai said the new rules – which treat the Internet like a utility and are meant to prevent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast from giving special treatment to content – aren't about what's really happening in the industry.

"… There wasn't a rash of Internet service providers blocking customers from accessing the content, applications, or services of their choice," said Pai. "No, it was all about politics."

"Days after a disappointing 2014 midterm election, and in order to energize a dispirited base, the White House released an extraordinary YouTube video instructing the FCC to implement Title II regulations. This was a transparent attempt to compromise the agency's independence. And it worked."

According to Arstechnica.com, the FCC has scheduled a vote for May 18 on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which will seek comment on Pai's plan. That could lead to a final vote later this year.

Politico said Pai's effort to get rid of the net neutrality rules could start an aggressive fight over them.

"His stab at new net neutrality rules will pit powerful interests against other powerful interests given that tech companies such as Google and Netflix have supported the rules now in place while Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T are more likely to get behind Pai’s changes," said Politico's Margaret Harding McGill.

"Left-leaning consumer groups and Democrats have already promised a fierce fight to preserve the existing framework."

Pai's critics, like Craig Aaron, president of the consumer advocacy group Free Press, said the chairman's move could lead to harmful business practices.

"It would put consumers at the mercy of phone and cable companies," Aaron told the Times. "In a fantasy world, all would be fine with a pinkie swear not to interrupt pathways and portals to the internet despite a history of doing that."

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The FCC's net neutrality rules adopted in 2015 would be rolled back under plans revealed on Wednesday by its new chairman, Ajit Pai, who said the Obama-era regulation was harmful to businesses.
fcc, net neutrality, rollback
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2017-27-27
Thursday, 27 Apr 2017 08:27 AM
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