FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Announces December Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai plans a December vote to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rule.

The FCC will vote on December 14, 2017, to repeal the agency’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which established net neutrality. The rule, known as the Open Internet Order, reclassified the internet as a public monopoly. Critics chided the rule, stating that it would diminish the freedom of the internet. Proponents argue that the regulations prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against content providers.

Chairman Pai plans to unveil his proposed rulemaking to repeal net neutrality on Wednesday.

Pai declared in a statement on Tuesday:

For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress.  This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States.  And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.

But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama.  On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet.  That decision was a mistake.  It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.

Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet.  Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.

Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015.  Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.

Speaking of transparency, when the prior FCC adopted President Obama’s heavy-handed Internet regulations, it refused to let the American people see that plan until weeks after the FCC’s vote.  This time, it’ll be different.  Specifically, I will publicly release my proposal to restore Internet freedom tomorrow—more than three weeks before the Commission’s December 14 vote.

Fellow Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement, “Today, the Chairman circulated a draft order that would restore Internet freedom by reversing the Obama-era FCC’s regulatory overreach. Prior to the FCC’s 2015 decision, consumers and innovators alike benefited from a free and open Internet because the FCC abided by a 20-year, bipartisan consensus that the government should not control or heavily regulate Internet access. The Internet flourished under this framework. So I fully support returning to this approach, which will promote innovation and investment for the benefit of all Americans. I look forward to casting my vote in support of Internet freedom.”

Free State Foundation President Randolph May issued a statement cheering net neutrality’s repeal. May argued, “The FCC’s current regulations, put in place at President Obama’s direction in 2015, constitute a misguided act of regulatory aggression leveled at the dynamic broadband Internet marketplace. It is none too soon to repeal them. Already, there is persuasive evidence that applying a public utility regulatory regime to Internet service providers has slowed investment in new facilities. As demand for Internet services continues to grow exponentially, the nation can ill-afford to risk deterring investment in new high-speed networks.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said, “The ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’ released today by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a bold strike turning America away from the path we were on — turning the internet into a cross between the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

Katie McAuliffe, executive director of digital liberty, argued, “Chairman Ajit Pai has been instrumental in reforming the FCC to reflect the rapidly changing telecommunications industry. Governing 21st-century technologies with 20th-century regulations is not a strategy for keeping the United States as a worldwide leader in technological innovation. Chairman Pai and the FCC have made reforms necessary to keep the United States competitive in the global economy and to ensure that all Americans have access to the information they need.”

FCC Chairman Pai told Breitbart News in a previous exclusive interview that we need to repeal net neutrality to preserve an open internet.

Pai told Breitbart News, “We need an open and free internet for the 21st century, and if that gateway is closed, we’re essentially left behind. So that’s one of the things we want to do is to promote ubiquitous internet access so that every American who wants it can get it and there’s no telling how broadly the entrepreneurial spirit can flourish if we empower Americans with access to a free and open internet.”


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