In February 2015, we posted a blog about the Federal Communications Commission’s passing of net neutrality rules. Just two years later, the appointment of the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, almost certainly means the rolling back of these rules. As a refresher, these rules prevented Internet service providers from blocking, throttling and discriminating or charging differently for data. The rules also considered broadband providers like utilities.
Pai, a former telecommunications lawyer, was nominated to the Commission in 2012 by former President Barack Obama and selected by Senate Republicans. He replaces former Chairman Tom Wheeler. Unlike his predecessor, Pai believes the FCC should have a hands-off approach, which begins with the rolling up of their sleeves. As reported by WIRED:
“‘We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation,’ Pai said at an event sponsored by the free market think tank Free State Foundation in Washington, DC, last month.”
Pai’s belief in limited government and “die-hard free market Republican” stance will make for a “weaker, meeker Commission,” according to Tech Crunch.
In addition to being against net neutrality, per NPR, Pai, who has been praised by industry groups and criticized by consumer-advocacy groups, will focus on connecting more rural communities to high-speed Internet and attempt to turning the dial for “struggling AM stations.”