Net neutrality fight looming? FCC commissioners split on Pai's proposal
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released his proposal to end the 2015 Obama-era internet regulations and "restore internet freedom." His proposal calls for an end to net neutrality regulations and the return of the Federal Trade Commission as the "privacy cop" of the government instead of the FCC.
The FCC public comment period, which closed in late August, resulted in approximately 60% of comments against the repeal of Title II and 39% in favor of the repeal. The commission had to deal with millions of auto-generated comments from disposable or temporary email accounts.
The commission will vote on the matter on Dec. 14, but leadership is far from unanimous on the issue. The commissioners appear split on the matter, with Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel against Pai's proposal and Brendan Carr and Michael O'Rielly in favor of it.
Does this mean a fight over net neutrality will ensue? As of right now, proponents of scaling back the 2015 regulations hold a majority, but Clyburn and Rosenworcel are not holding back their reservations.
Here are what the commissioners had to say in their statements:
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn:
Clyburn came out in strong opposition of what she described as a "most unwelcome #ThanksgivingFail" which will sacrifice consumer interest and innovation in the face of appeasing large communication companies, according to her statement.
Pai's proposal, "a cornucopia full of rotten fruit, stale grains, and wilted flowers topped off with a plate full of burnt turkey," will allow ISPs to conduct "anti-consumer practices," such as paid prioritization of content and slowing down or blocking traffic, Clyburn said.
.@FCC Majority’s “Pre-Holiday News Dump” would dismantle #netneutrality. This most unwelcome #ThanksgivingFail is simply a giveaway to the nation’s largest communications companies at the expense of #consumers & #innovation. My statement: https://t.co/EY9eNmP9jx— Mignon Clyburn (@MClyburnFCC) November 21, 2017
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly:
The 2015 regulations "sacrificed decades of precedent and the independence of the agency for political ends while doing nothing to protect actual consumers," O'Rielly said in his statement.
In an effort to scale back regulations and net neutrality, Rielly said he will "look forward" to reviewing Pai's proposal and ensure it has the "necessary legal and analytical foundations … [to] withstand the challenges that are certain to ensue."
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:
Rosenworcel came out in clear opposition to Pai's proposal, saying the removal of the court-tested regulations "is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the internet every day" in her statement.
Removing the 2015 regulations would give ISPs the power to control who is heard, what content users can visit and the creative community of the internet. For a "slim majority" of the commission to end net neutrality would be unfair to internet users and a "big blunder," according to Rosenworcel.
Commissioner Brendan Carr:
Carr announced that the the internet "flourished" under the pre-2015 framework and he supports a return to an internet with less regulation by the government. Innovation and investment, which will benefit all Americans, will be better with the "internet freedom" under Pai's proposal, Carr said.
Today is a great day for consumers, innovation, & Internet freedom. I look forward to casting my vote in favor of restoring the 20-year, bipartisan approach under which the free & open Internet flourished.— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) November 21, 2017
My statement -->https://t.co/uAk8ltGB2u pic.twitter.com/KYXFD9LCga
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