FCC Chairman Frames His Plan For Internet As Boon For Privacy

The first step in Pai's plan to reverse broadband Title II reclassification was to circulate a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input on a recommendation that would cause broadband to again be treated as a more lightly regulated information service, as it was prior to 2015.

"In other words, this will be the beginning of the discussion, not the end", Pai said. However, it's already clear that Pai's proposal will transfer power from consumers to the broadband monopolies, giving them more room to act as gatekeepers, standing between internet users and their choice of online applications and services. "Nothing about the law had changed", Pai said Wednesday afternoon in a speech delivered at the Newseum.

If history is any guide, however, the coming fight over net neutrality is poised to be politically perilous.

"Do we want the government to control the Internet?" he said. Adopted by the majority of Democrats who ran the FCC at the time, the regulations reclassified how the FCC treats Internet service providers - both wired and mobile - to put them in a similar bucket to traditional telephone companies, like utilities. He said that his proposal would go through a public comment period starting with an FCC meeting in May. If Title II is reversed, as some net neutrality opponents would like to see Pai accomplish immediately through a "declaratory ruling", then the FCCs ability to impose net neutrality rules on ISPs will be revoked.

"If enacted, Chairman Pai's plan would dismantle the legal foundation of the Open Internet".

The FCC passed these rules in 2015 as part of the agency's Open Internet Order, which barred broadband providers from throttling connection speeds, blocking websites, and accepting payment for prioritizing traffic. "We applaud efforts to remove unnecessary barriers to construction of new networks, which would foster increased competition and faster, more affordable, open Internet access".

"Getting rid of net neutrality is so much easier said than done", Craig Aaron, president and chief executive of Free Press, said Wednesday on a press call organized by Sen.

Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market.

Pai's announcement comes just weeks after he met with telecommunications lobbyists. So a lot of people in the middle of this argument say what we actually need is a long-term relatively nonpartisan lasting legislative answer to this question so that it doesn't keep pingponging back and forth between, you know, partisan FCC commissioners.

Net-neutrality advocates, including those signing the letter, say Pai's reported plan would be too lenient. Either path also would include a request for comments from companies and the public on what shape remaining rules should take.

Pai said he will offer a reversal of the 2015 order, to be voted on by the FCC next month, to return to "a light-touch regulatory framework", which he argued has "enabled the internet to grow and evolve beyond nearly anyone's expectations".

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