FCC Chairman Frames His Plan For Internet As Boon For Privacy

08 May 2017, 04:18 | Santos Harmon

FCC Chairman Frames His Plan For Internet As Boon For Privacy

FCC Chairman Frames His Plan For Internet As Boon For Privacy

Today, Ajit Pai, the new Trump-appointed head of the FCC, outlined his plan to rid numerous Obama-era net neutrality rules.

The Republican argues the regulations have cost jobs and have kept lower-income and rural areas behind the times.

Pai will deliver his speech titled "The Future of Internet Regulation" on April 26 in Washington.

Net Neutrality is a much-debated topic; consumers want an unbiased network, while broadband providers have been very open about how net neutrality would stifle broadband investment.

But Pai's idea to rely on corporate promises is too weak to be effective by itself, according to Mignon Clyburn, the FCC's lone Democrat, and Terrell McSweeny, the top Democrat at the Federal Trade Commission. (For the wonky: from utility-like "telecommunications services" to "information services.") AT&T, Comcast and other telecom and cable companies welcomed this effort, while adding that they do support "a free and open Internet" as well as the fundamental principles of net neutrality.

Chairman Pai said high-speed internet doesn't need to be treated like a public utility with strict rules and the industry should be left to police and monitor itself.

There's little evidence that the rules have hurt investment, however.

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"I will be publicly releasing the entire text of the document tomorrow afternoon", Pai says, and he wants the agency to vote on the plan May 18.

He reiterated that it was a "serious mistake" to try and regulate the Internet to the degree which net neutrality rules do, and will push forward a proposal to roll back current regulations, The Washington Post reports.

Pai has made no secret of his distaste for regulations in general and, specifically, for rules enshrining net neutrality, the principle that all users of the internet should have equal access to it. Ed Markey (R-MA), said at a news conference before Pai's announcement.

Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups are also lining up in opposition. "It chose to slap an old regulatory framework called "Title II" - originally designed in the 1930s for the Ma Bell telephone monopoly - upon thousands of Internet service providers, big and small".

More than 800 startups, investors and startup-oriented organizations are speaking out on behalf of net neutrality rules from the Obama administration. Now, ISPs and free-market Republicans are likely to support Pai's plan, while tech companies and proponents of "net neutrality" are likely to be bitterly opposed.

The battle over the internet has been brewing for years culminating with regulations in 2015 that amounted to a power grab by the Obama Administration's FCC.

The agency turned from a looser regulatory classification to Title II after courts said it lacked authority for its net neutrality enforcement.

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