FCC Chair Ajit Pai Announces Bullshit Plan to Destroy Net Neutrality
The agonizing wait is finally over. Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to dismantle net neutrality. During a speech in Washington, DC at the conservative nonprofit Freedomworks, Pai outlined his plan to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order. The order established the principles of the open internet in law, reclassifying internet service providers (ISPs) as “common carriers” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act; it also banned them from violating certain “bright line” rules, like blocking or prioritizing traffic to certain websites.
Pai said today he intends to introduce a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) at the FCC’s May 18 open meeting. The NPRM will have three elements: Reclassifying ISPs under Title I instead of Title II, eliminating the Internet Conduct Standard, and “seeking input” on the bright line rules on blocking and prioritization. It’s telling that Pai didn’t go into much detail about that last element—it involves the rules that most clearly prevent the worst abuses by ISPs, such as throttling traffic to their competitors or those who don’t pay more for their service. (Pai said he will release the full details tomorrow.)
The move was strongly opposed by net neutrality proponents, including the Internet Association, which represents websites and internet companies like Facebook and Google. “Rolling back these rules or reducing the legal sustainability of the Order will result in a worse internet for consumers and less innovation online,” the group said. A collection of 800 startups and organizations, including Y Combinator, also published a letter today opposing the rollback. And Democratic senator Ed Markey said on a conference call today that he was “ready for this fight to come.”