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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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 6,800,604 — Total deaths: 396,591 — Total recoveries — 2,785,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,908,235 — Total deaths: 109,443 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight coronavirus Fauci: "Very concerned" about spread of virus amid George Floyd protests — Cities offer free testing for protesters.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model as use of robots accelerates.
  5. Business: Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

A protester holds a placard reading "Covid kills People, Racism kills Communities" as they attend a demonstration in Manchester, northern England, on June 6, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Paul Ellis/Contributor.

Thousands are gathering for a day of protests in Washington, D.C., almost two weeks after George Floyd's killing. Protesters in Australia and Europe staged anti-racism demonstrations on Saturday as well.

What's happening: A memorial service for Floyd is taking place in Raeford, North Carolina — near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor Floyd until sunset. Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Philadelphia and Chicago.

Buffalo police officers arrested after shoving 75-year-old protester

Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault on Saturday after a video emerged of them shoving a 75-year-old protester while clearing a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd's killing, AP reports, citing prosecutors.

The state of play: Both officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, and were released without bail. After the law enforcement officers were initially suspended without pay on Friday, all 57 officers on the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team resigned in a show of support for their fellow officers' suspensions.