FCC chief lays out attack on 'net neutrality' rules

FCC chief lays out attack on 'net neutrality' rules

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, "Chairman Pai is taking an important step to free the internet from government control, bring high-speed internet to more Americans, boost competition, and create more jobs in both the construction and use of new networks". That's what they were considered prior to the current rules, which the then-majority-Democrat FCC passed along party lines in 2015. Pai's vow to scrap it has been met with fierce and immediate condemnation from these same groups. But there are hints that the ultimate goal is to basically take this whole issue and put it before Congress, because this is the third time that the FCC has taken up the question of net neutrality. For example, this means Comcast can not stream its own video app at high quality while reducing the quality of videos streamed over, say, Netflix or charge Netflix extra to deliver its service at normal quality levels.

"The FCC, on a party-line vote, chose to impose a set of heavy-handed regulations upon the Internet", Pai said in the speech titled The Future of Internet Freedom.

In the speech Wednesday, Pai also reiterated past arguments that the more stringent regulations involved with the net-neutrality rules have slowed ISPs' willingness to expand and upgrade their broadband networks, and thus hurt job growth. "Earlier today I shared with my fellow commissioners a proposal to reverse the mistake of Title II and return to the light touch framework that served us so well during the Clinton Administration, Bush administration, and first six years of the Obama administration", Pai said in a speech today in Washington. "It made a decision to slap an old regulatory framework called "Title II"-originally designed in the 1930s for the Ma Bell telephone monopoly-upon thousands of internet service providers (ISPs), big and small". "But those heights have been threatened by federal regulations that set a risky precedent by focusing on controlling the internet rather than protecting consumers". He told industry representatives that he was considering ending common-carrier classification and handing enforcement of most net neutrality rules to the Federal Trade Commission, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

"We applaud FCC Chairman Pai's initiative to remove this stifling regulatory cloud over the internet", AT&T Chairman & CEO Randall Stephenson said.

Net neutrality advocates are bracing for the impending battle to protect the Open Internet order, and they're heartened by the fact that the approval process for Pai's plan will give supporters time to rally constituents.

Other top Republicans backed Pai's proposal as well.

Sen. Markey said the idea of supporting an open internet but not supporting net neutrality is "like saying you value democracy but don't see a need for a constitution, or you like math but you don't like numbers". "It's provided the opportunity for new Black voices in the arts to bypass Hollywood gatekeepers", Cyril said in a statement.

The FCC is a slow-moving agency, so Pai's announcement merely kicks off a months-long procedure to undo the rules.

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Pai's Wednesday speech can be viewed via live stream here.

"This is not something they can sneak through", Aaron said.

Broadband industry lobbying group NCTA-The Internet & Television Association-meanwhile, cheered Pai's proposal as a win for consumers. The FCC plans to release an official proposal for the vote on Thursday.

"Going forward, we can not stick with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage Ma Bell", Pai explained.

Digital rights groups Free Press and Fight for the Future pledged to mobilize internet users to oppose Pai.

Chairman Ajit Pai said in a speech Wednesday that a Democratic-led FCC during the final two years of former President Barack Obama's tenure nearly oversaw the demise of a "free and open" internet.

"Hell hath no fury like the internet scorned", said Evan Greer, campaign director at Fight for the Future.

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