FCC Chief Begins Rollback Of Net Neutrality Regulations

In case that old conservative boogeyman, "regulations", didn't tip you off, though, the net neutrality rules have really stuck in the craw of certain right-wing lawmakers and officials-notably Pai, who's served on the commission since 2012, and vocally opposed the new guidelines when they were initially passed.

"Going forward, we can not stick with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage Ma Bell", Mr. Pai said in prepared remarks. Companies like Google and Facebook and Netflix became household names precisely because we didn't have the government micromanaging how the internet would operate.

Ajit Pai, who was named chair of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January, said at a speech in Washington he was aiming to reverse rules that gave the government greater regulatory powers over internet service providers, arguing they cost jobs and depressed investment.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hits those same points, saying "we fully support reversal of Title II classification" because it harms investment and innovation.

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As part of the 2015 process, the FCC voted to assert more regulatory control over Internet providers by reclassifying them as common carriers, similar to telephone services. Without net neutrality, they warn, the internet as we know it could cease to exist, instead carved up by major companies.

"I believe it is time for another, more pragmatic, view that embraces the undisputed principles of net neutrality-no blocking, no discrimination, no paid prioritization, reasonable network management-and yet puts the burden on the providers to conform their behavior".

Additionally, more than 800 startups, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurial support organizations threw their weight behind net neutrality in a letter to the Commission, arguing enforceable net neutrality rules "ensure big cable companies can't discriminate against people like us". Among our nation's 12 largest Internet service providers, domestic broadband capital expenditures decreased by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016, the first two years of the Title II era. We recognize that our customers demand access to the content, applications, and devices of their choice and as a competitive wireless carrier, we always strive to meet our customers' needs.

"It makes no sense for the government to be discouraging investment in the newspaper industry", Pai said previous year.

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Pai was vague in his speech on how the FCC would enforce net neutrality without Title II.

Net neutrality has been the source of an ongoing debate for years. Blumenthal said, noting that about 800 US businesses have already written to the FCC to voice opposition to changes to net neutrality. "It was illogical for the FCC in 2015 to. regulate the Internet under an 80-year-old law created to set rates for the rotary-dial-telephone era". FCC commissioners should refuse to accept Pai's proposal and keep the current legal framework that guarantees a free and open internet.

Blumenthal said jobs and economic progress - not just consumer convenience - is at stake if the FCC rules are changed.

But Pai's idea to rely on corporate promises is too weak to be effective by itself, according to Mignon Clyburn, the FCC's lone Democrat, and Terrell McSweeny, the top Democrat at the Federal Trade Commission. The FCC has already started chipping away at net neutrality beginning with the repeal of other internet regulations.

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The FCC chairman also endorsed the decision of Congress and Trump to undo Internet privacy protections put in place in the final weeks of the Obama administration.

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