FCC chairman to unveil action plan for revamping net neutrality

26 April 2017

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will unveil his action plan for revamping net neutrality alter during the day.

Two years ago, the FCC led by Democrats had passed Open Internet rules that prevented internet service providers from throttling or blocking content online.

However, Republican Ajit Pai, who voted against those rules as a commissioner and was named chairman by president Trump three months ago, has openly expressed his desire to replace those regulations. The rules had "had harmful effects on the marketplace," partly by depressing investment by internet service providers, Pai said last week.

The chairman will make a speech in Washington today about the future of internet regulation. As part of the speech, the chairman was expected to announce the FCC would start seeking public comment on the process to repeal the rules, Recode said in a report, which cited unnamed persons familiar with the matter.

The people told Recode that the agency could hold an initial vote on the proposal at the FCC's next meeting on 18 May.

The event today will be hosted by Conservative-libertarian group FreedomWorks, which opposed the passage of the rules in 2015, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, which had supported the current FCC's regulatory reduction efforts.

Broadband companies oppose the net neutrality rules, and they see Pai as an ally who had called the regulations a mistake on many occasions. Under Pai,  the process of rolling back the rules could start early as today, say reports.

According to commentators, the internet industry, which considered net neutrality essential for its business, would likely not give in without a fight.

Many internet companies were busy lobbying Congress, working with government regulators, and signing letters of protest.

The giants of the industry, however, had mostly maintained a silence, at best only offering general statements of support for net neutrality. The Internet Association, which spoke for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix and Uber, had called on Pai to support net neutrality earlier this month.

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