Feb 28, 2017

FCC chief blasts net neutrality rules as fight heats up

Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a little over a month into the job, has the agency's net neutrality rules in his sights.

"Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market," Pai said of the 2015 net neutrality rules during a speech in Barcelona on Tuesday. "But today, the torch at the FCC has been passed to a new generation, dedicated to renewal as well as change."

The details: Pai spoke about his priorities for his tenure, including incentivizing broadband deployment and instituting a "light-touch" regulatory regime. "We are confident in the decades-long, cross-party consensus on light-touch Internet regulation — one that helped America's digital economy thrive," he said, according to his prepared remarks. "And we are on track to returning to that successful approach."

Why it matters: Pai has been crystal clear about his distaste for the FCC's 2015 decision to treat broadband like a utility, which gave the FCC more regulatory authority over the industry. Meanwhile, angry progressive lawmakers and public interest groups have pledged to fight any effort to roll back the rules. Those critics have slammed Pai's moves to pull back investigations under the rules as well as potential efforts in Congress to squash related privacy regulations. Broadband providers such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T support Pai's efforts.

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