FCC chair has a plan to 'restore internet freedom,' paving way for net neutrality repeal
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai rolled out his proposal to "restore internet freedom and eliminate heavy-handed internet regulations" to his colleagues Tuesday and plans to release the proposal publicly Wednesday, according to an FCC announcement. The release will afford the public more than three weeks to view the proposal before the commission votes on it Dec. 14, a period of transparency Pai said was lacking in Obama's 2015 regulation passage.
The proposal will stop internet "micromanaging" by the federal government in favor of transparency requirements for ISPs and move the onus of policing ISPs back to the FTC, which was the "government's most experienced privacy cop" prior to 2015, according to Pai.
Pai cited a 5.6% decrease in broadband network investment over the last two years as evidence of the regulations' failures in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. Smaller ISPs have lacked the resources to to upkeep or expand services and the introduction of new services has slowed down under net neutrality regulations, said Pai. He warned against fearmongering and "anti-market ideologues" in the weeks leading up to the vote.
The scaling back of net neutrality under Pai's leadership comes as no surprise to the enterprise, which has been expecting this move since the beginning of the year.
The vote is expected to pass in the FCC in December, but the retraction is unlikely to spark congressional action despite some hopes it might bring the opposite side to the table. With the back and forth regulations characteristic of the last few years, net neutrality proponents, namely Democrats, are more likely to bide their time and wait until they have control of the White House again to reinstate regulations rather than make concessions.
Pai's upcoming proposal release will ignite several politically-charged weeks of debate between ISPs, content providers, politicians of all parties and commission members. As one of the few highly political tech issues battling it out in headlines and government forums today, enterprise tech leaders are sure to continue making their voices and opinions on the matter heard.
CIO Dive will continue to monitor the situation and update this story as Pai's official proposal is made public.
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