Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

That's according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai now that the Incentive Auction on the TV side is over.

Pai will begin the process to scrap the Obama-era net neutrality rules. From dismantling online privacy protections to enabling broadband and cable monopolies to continue overcharging consumers about $50 a month, every action Chairman Pai has taken has been in the name of industry consolidation, giving these monopolies new opportunities to raise prices and discriminate against competitors.

Nearly two dozen smaller ISPs have told FCC chairman Ajit Pai that the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order reclassifying ISPs as Title II common carrier telecom services "hangs like a black cloud", a cloud they are urging him to dispel ASAP.

"The rigid rules that now govern Internet providers forbid an array of business models that could benefit consumers", Ryan Radia, a research fellow at the pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in a statement. And it could pave the way for the FCC to reverse a key decision, undertaken in 2015, to regulate Internet providers like legacy telephone companies. Such a strategy could put pressure on Congress to negotiate a legislative compromise more quickly.


Pai said there are also other important elements to the FCC's AM Radio Revitalization Initiative that remain pending, and is hopeful the Commission can move forward on some of them soon.

The FCC received about 4 million public comments in the rulemaking proceeding leading up to its 2015 regulations, with the large majority of people supporting strong net neutrality rules. Many of them don't match current market conditions, he added.

Last week, Pai met executives from top tech companies including Facebook, Apple and Intel. A broadband provider could potentially decide to change its net neutrality policy after notifying customers. He did indicate, however, that he supports a "free and open internet" and that he is more open to having a set of rules that is "more voluntary in nature" as described by Recode. "Previous year the United States experienced the first decline in broadband investment outside of a recession", Pai said in a speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, as cited by Tech Crunch.

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