Obama's net neutrality rules likely target of new FCC boss

Ajit Pai

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to unveil his strategy this week to overturn landmark 2015 net neutrality rules, a move that will kickoff a new battle over the future of the internet. 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.

Pai's office declined to comment.

He will lay out his vision during a speech tomorrow in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by the conservative-leaning group FreedomWorks.

Before adopting the current rules, the FCC twice tried to impose net neutrality rules that were struck down by courts as going beyond the agency's authority. As such, the net neutrality rules favor the consumers but not the big businesses involved in the internet industry.

Broadband providers and Republican lawmakers have opposed the rules, saying the reclassification adds unnecessary regulation that deters deployment and other investment in their networks. Instead, Internet service providers would take a voluntary pledge not to discriminate online and the Federal Trade Commission would investigate any alleged violations of the pledges. He told reporters that the discussions were constructive and he believes that the companies wanted to find a "common ground".

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"It makes no sense for the government to be discouraging investment in the newspaper industry", Pai said previous year. President Donald Trump, who appointed Pai as the FCC's chairman, has also criticized the regulations. John Oliver also dedicated a show segment to the topic, which raised awareness of an otherwise jargon-y, abstract issue.

When the FCC crafted the net neutrality rules in 2015, a record 4 million consumers wrote in to the agency, largely in support of the rules.

For the moment, though, there's no net-neutrality development to rally around, and won't be until there's an actual FCC proposal up for debate.

The ISPs pledged to continue to protect an open internet because it was not in their interests to block, throttle or degrade traffic, and that rather than being the gatekeepers (which they were branded by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in justifying Title II), it is the "Frightful Five" edge providers-Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google-that have the scale and ability to dominate other sectors.

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