Tags: Net Neutrality | Steve Malzberg Show | Ajit Pai | FCC | Obama | DNC

FCC's Ajit Pai: Even Dems Agree, Net Neutrality Is Obama's Plan

By    |   Friday, 27 February 2015 04:29 PM

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says the barrage of criticism he's received for labeling "net neutrality" as President Barack Obama's plan is bogus — because the Democratic National Committee agrees with him.

And Pai also told Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Friday that Obama embraced the plan to regulate the Internet as a utility because he needed a "political issue" to push during his second term.

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"If you look at some of the reports, it's pretty clear the White House was casting about for a political issue after the November election and they settled on net neutrality," said Pai, who was appointed by Obama and opposed the plan.

"I've gotten a decent amount of criticism for calling it President Obama's plan, but today, if you look at the Democratic National Committee website, they brag about the fact that 'the FCC just approved President Obama's plan for Internet regulation.' "

"Well, when the political party that inspired it is taking credit for it, we have to call it what it is … a presidential plan to regulate the Internet."

On Thursday, the FCC invoked wide-ranging powers that it says guarantees all Web users are treated equally. It prohibits Internet service providers from blocking or slowing online traffic or offering faster service for a higher price.

The vote was supported by three Democrat commissioners and opposed by two Republicans.

Pai said the president's push "dramatically changed where the FCC was heading," but it dutifully, implemented the plan. But the new legislation, he added, is ominous for consumers.

"It means … instead of the Internet being governed by engineers, technologists and innovators. It's going to be governed by lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians," Pai said.

"It's a massive shift toward government control of how the Internet works and nobody knows exactly how this brave new world is going to play out. One thing is for sure, it's going to be bad for American consumers and entrepreneurs going forward."

It's also far cry from Web governance under Bill Clinton's presidency, Pai told Steve Malzberg.

"A decision was made with President Clinton and the Republican Congress that the Internet should thrive free from a government regulation," he said.

"And they believed it so strongly that they actually put it into law that has served us well over Republican and Democratic administrations ever since.

"As a result … the U.S. is the envy of the world when it comes to online innovation and the Internet economy. Why we would throw that away to insert the government into what has been a pretty effective marketplace, is beyond me."

Pai called it a "political power grab from Washington" which will raise consumer broadband bills, reduce the speeds they get and lower competition in the marketplace.

He said there has been nothing wrong with the way the Internet business has been working so far.

"People who want to watch Netflix can watch it. There's no systemic problem that consumers have that needs to be solved by the FCC," he said.

"To the contrary, what's going to happen over the next couple of months is the FCC, by calling broadband a telephone service, is going to subject broadband to new taxes and fees that big consumers are going to have to pay.

"Some of the smaller providers that don't have the wherewithal to comply with these regulations might go out of business or increase their cost. It's going to be bad all around for everyone who's involved in the Internet."

Pai is also worried about the future of free speech on the Web.

"One of the bedrock principles of our society is free speech. The online platform has been so important for voices that previously were either silenced or didn't get the adequate exposure," he said.

"The notion there's even one person at the FCC who thinks that online political speech should be regulated is dangerous and it signifies the fact that their constitutional guarantee under the First Amendment is not just a piece of paper.

"It's got to be cultural commitment and it's going to be important for people whose support open online political speech to really speak out because if you don't, bureaucrats might for you."

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FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says the barrage of criticism he's received for labeling "net neutrality" as President Barack Obama's plan is bogus — because the Democratic National Committee agrees with him.
Ajit Pai, FCC, Obama, DNC
Friday, 27 February 2015 04:29 PM
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