WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday followed through on his pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally, setting up a showdown with consumer groups and internet companies who fear the move will stifle competition and innovation.
The current rules, known as net neutrality, impose utility-style regulation on ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to prevent them from favoring their own digital services over those of their rivals.
Mr. Pai said that he believes the net neutrality rules adopted during the Obama administration discourage the ISPs from making investments in their network that would provide even better and faster online access.
“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” Mr. Pai said in a statement.
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
Mr. Pai distributed his alternative plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a Dec. 14 vote on the proposal. He promised to release his entire proposal Wednesday.
The attempt to repeal net neutrality has triggered protests from consumer groups and internet companies. More than 22 million comments have been filed with the FCC about whether net neutrality should be rolled back.
Once again, the Trump administration sides with big money and against democracy. If this passes, the internet and its free exchange of information as we have come to know it will cease to exist. #NetNeutrality https://t.co/1oKLkWOpYn
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 21, 2017