Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New FCC Chairman Not A Fan Of Net Neutrality

Ajit Pai
The new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, is not a fan of unnecessary regulation — which in his view, includes Net neutrality.

Nominated to the FCC by President Obama in 2012, Pai and fellow Republican commissioner Michael O'Rielly, who joined a year later, often found themselves on the losing end of 3-2 votes at the agency over the last three years — including votes on Net neutrality and, more recently, Internet data privacy rules.

Democrats Tom Wheeler, the outgoing chairman, and commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel voted to approve those measures.

But the new commission — it's short two members as Rosenworcel has not been confirmed to remain — could seek ways to roll back those measures. President Trump has voiced opposition to the Net neutrality rules, passed by the FCC on Feb. 25, 2015, which require Internet service providers to treat all legal content equally and prohibits the unfairly blocking or slowing of content.

Before his dissent on those rules, Pai said at the time, "this Order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have."

According to USAToday, Netflix, Google and other big websites were in favor of net neutrality rules. Internet service providers such as cable and telecom providers Comcast and AT&T opposed it. The contentious issue triggered an avalanche of public comments. The new Trump Administration was expected to try to roll back the rules, which Trump in a 2014 tweet called a "power grab" by President Obama.

At the FCC, Pai has pushed for a national broadband plan that would increase the deployment of high-speed connectivity. "I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans," Pai said in a statement.

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